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The AHRC and the First World War

Date: 27/06/2014

Tomorrow (Saturday 28th June) marks the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife during a state visit to Sarajevo. The assassination was critical in setting off the chain of events that led to the First World War.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is leading on and supporting a number of initiatives to help commemorate the First World War including the AHRC's World War One Engagement Centres, and the BBC's World War One at Home project. The AHRC has also been working on a number of features and films that examine how research is helping shape contemporary understanding of the First World War and what the 2014 commemorations mean.

The latest film from the AHRC examines 'Leeds Stories of the Great War', a project undertaken by the University of Leeds, which has been investigating the experiences of people who were living in Leeds during the First World War.

Leeds as a city was vital to the British war effort. It lost more men than the national average; equally, as a key industrial centre, Leeds factories and industries played an indispensable role in supplying the British troops and civilians during the war. Leeds residents also contributed in other ways: its households took in Belgian refugees; its hospitals cared for thousands of wounded soldiers from Britain (and it's then Empire). Today, in the Liddle Collection, University of Leeds, the West Yorkshire Archives (now in Morley), and Leeds Central Library, Leeds houses the most important collections of archival materials on the First World War outside of London

'Leeds Stories of the Great War' aimed to bring together Leeds community groups with academics from the University of Leeds to explore all aspects of Leeds life during the war. One of the ways the project delivered this was to contribute an 'Antiques Roadshow' style event in Morley where members of the public had the chance to bring along photographs, letters and objects relating to the First World War, and have them put into context by academics from the University, and experts from the libraries and museums of Leeds.

For more information on Leeds Stories of the Great War please see the Legacies of War website.

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