Wartime stories to be captured in new book and archive
People in the North East are being invited to contribute their families’ memories and stories to a book and online archive, recording what life was like in the region during World War I.
Wor Women is a storytelling project which will focus on the lives of women during wartime, organised by Newcastle-based social enterprise Curiosity Creative and Tyneside Women’s Health.
Alex Henry, Founder of Curiosity Creative explained: “We’re especially interested in capturing stories about how women spent their leisure time during the war years - for example, the songs people sang, the sports people played and anecdotes about home-based crafts and activities.
“It’s these memories which will help us to build up a picture of what everyday life was really like for ordinary people during wartime.”
A group of service users from Tyneside Women’s Health has already started researching what life was like for North East women during the war, making visits to Newcastle’s Lit and Phil, Newcastle City Library and Tyne & Wear Archives and scouring early 20th century copies of local newspapers.
Elaine Slater from Tyneside Women’s Health, said: “Tyneside Women’s Health service users benefit hugely from projects such as this. Not only are women able to learn new skills such as oral history recording, and handling objects, but through the project women are introduced to museums and libraries in their communities which helps to reduce isolation and improve mental health.”
The stories will be compiled into a new book and a selection will also be made into digital stories, using archive photographs and documents.
Alex Henry added: “We want to capture stories which might be in danger of being forgotten and make a permanent record of what leisure time was like for women who lived here in the North East while the First World War was taking place.
“We’d love to hear from anyone who has a story to share.”
Wor Women is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through its First World War: then and now programme. This programme provides grants of £3,000 to £10,000 for communities to mark the Centenary of the First World War.