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World War One at Home across the BBC

Date: 18/02/2014

The refugees housed in London's Earls Court, the music hall performer who recruited for the War effort, the German POWs in Tipperary, Cardiffs' Land Girls and the Glasgow Rent Strikes are just some of the local stories from the global conflict that was World War One. Starting on Monday February 24, World War One at Home will begin broadcasting the first of 1400 stories across all BBC local radio stations and regional television in England and the Channel Islands, and on BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland, and at www.bbc.co.uk/ww1.

World War One At Home, a UK-wide project, will broadcast over a thousand powerful stories throughout 2014 and 2015, all linked to specific places across the country, in a way never told before.

This unique broadcasting event will uncover surprising stories about familiar neighbourhoods where the wounded were treated, crucial front line supplies were made, major scientific developments happened, prisoners of war were held and where heroes are buried. 

To help unearth and bring these original wartime accounts to life, IWM (Imperial War Museums) is working together with the BBC in a partnership that will span the World War One Centenary. World War One At Home is also working with academics from universities across Britain who have been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The AHRC funds research in the arts and humanities and helps share the findings with the wider public.

Head of Programmes, BBC English Regions, Craig Henderson, said: These stories offer a unique insight into life on the Home Front 100 years ago. They reveal familiar places across the nation in a new and fascinating light, places that we might drive or walk past every day with realising their historical resonance. These stories would have remained little-known about without the involvement of the many partners and organisations across the country who have supported our journalists in bringing them to light, and I would like to thank them for their invaluable help and expertise. The stories will all be available online at www.bbc.co.uk/ww1 where they can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Adrian Van Klaveren, Controller, World War One Centenary, said: The First World War has so many personal connections for each of us as individuals, through our families and the places where we live. One hundred years on, World War One At Home will discover stories never told before and will highlight what the war meant to communities across the UK.

All BBC Local Radio stations across England will broadcast a World War One At Home story at 8.15am each weekday morning, and at various times throughout the day from Monday 24 February to Friday 28 February. More World War One At Home stories will be broadcast in April and through the rest of the year.

BBC regional television news programmes in England will broadcast a World War One At Home story each weekday from 24-28 February at 6.30pm on BBC One. Many of the stories will feature never before seen footage of life on the Home Front.

In Scotland World War One At Home stories will be on Good Morning Scotland, the John Beattie Show and Newsdrive on BBC Radio Scotland from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 February

In Northern Ireland World War One At Home stories will be at 8.50am, 11.55am and 11.55pm on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle from Monday 24 to Friday 28 February.

In Wales World War One At Homes stories will be on Eleri Sion's programme at 3.30pm Monday 24 to Thursday 27 February and Friday 28 February on Wynne Evans' Big Welsh Weekend at 3.30pm on BBC Radio Wales.

On BBC Radio Manchester brings up-to-date the story of young Percy Morter who enlisted in 1914 at the Palace Theatre Manchester, when the music hall star Vesta Tilley placed her hand on his shoulder as part of a recruiting campaign. Percy died on the Somme nearly a year later. His body was never found and he is remembered on a Memorial in East Manchester. His wife Kitty was pregnant, and her son was born in October of that year. Kitty told the BBC she couldn't remember the baby being born as she'd no wish to live because her world had come to an end.

BBC London reveals how a make-shift refugee centre in Earls Court became home for thousands of fleeing Belgium nationals. Of the 250,000 refugees fleeing their homes following Germany's invasion of Belgium in August 1914, many came through ports such as Folkestone and Tilbury before moving to other parts of the British Isles. In London, they were processed in huge encampments, including Earls Court and Alexandra Palace, or they were housed with families across London.

BBC Hereford & Worcester recounts the emotional story of a charity concert organised in April 1916 to raise money to buy things for the members of the Herefordshire Regiment who were serving in Gallipoli. There were 40 performers, mainly young girls whose fathers were serving in the regiment. The theme was Winter Wonderland and the girls were dressed as Eskimos and snow maidens in costumes made of cotton wool. A fire started, rumoured to be from the spark of a discarded cigarette, and the girls costumes caught fire. Six girls died on the night and two died later of their injuries.

BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle tells how the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co Tipperary housed some of the first German POWs shortly after the opening shots of the First World War were fired.

Today Templemore Barracks is famed for being the training college of the Irish Police Force, the Garda Siochana, but for six months from September 1914 to March 1915 it housed over two thousand military prisoners in makeshift camps.

And while the Western Front was seeing its own truces over Christmas 1914, in Tipperary the locals and POWs exchanged gifts through barbed wire fences as the Germans sang carols in their native tongue.

In Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, John Beattie Show and Newsdrive tell the story of Mary Barbour and the Glasgow Rent Strikes. Barbour raised an army of housewives, engineers and labourers to protest at rent increases imposed on them by landlords while loved ones were loyally fighting overseas. After months of protest, scrums and increasingly militant resistance, the Government of the day was forced to act and improve the lives of tenants across the whole of Britain.

On BBC Radio Wales, 'A Land Girl in the City'; looks at the work of land girls in the women's land army from 1914-1918 and features archive recording with Agnes Greatorex who worked at Green Farm in Cardiff. The building, now owned by Cardiff County Council, was restored in keeping with the original farmhouse and is in use today as a hostel. It has 25 rooms and accommodates single people and families who are homeless and in priority need. The debt Britain owed the women who kept the country's farms going during the First World War was huge. The hours were long, the conditions dirty and the work excruciatingly hard. Land girls, also known as the forgotten army, made a unique contribution to the war effort, without which an embattled country would have faced starvation.

The 1400 stories from World War One at Home are being broadcast in phases; the second phase will begin in Spring 2014.

Over the summer, World War One At Home project partners BBC Learning will create eight large-scale inspirational Great War events which will take place throughout the UK, reflecting the dramatic impact the war had on local families and communities. Drawing on a wealth of BBC productions specially commissioned for the centenary and led by well-known BBC faces, each event will offer a unique opportunity to understand more about the First World War.

Browse hundreds of stories online at bbc.co.uk/ww1 from 24 February.


For further information contact: Natasha Lee, Publicist, BBC English Regions @BBCLocalPR / 01179 747472 / 07740 818831 / Natasha.lee@bbc.co.uk

Susan Mackean Publicist, BBC English Regions @BBCLocalPR / 07718695736, Susan.mackean@bbc.co.uk

For press enquiries about the AHRC’s involvement contact Danielle Moore-Chick, 01793 416021,d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The BBC World War One Season.

    World War One on the BBC is the biggest and most ambitious season ever commissioned. Comprising over 130 new commissions and over 2,500 hours of programming across four years, the Season will offer a unique way to understand a war that changed our world, reflecting the centenary from every perspective; locally, nationally and internationally, and utilising the full range of BBC services. The season began on television in January with Jeremy Paxman's Britain's Great War (BBC One), the Season will feature numerous documentaries from some of the country's most eminent historians, drama from leading writers, eclectic music, arts, science, live events coverage and news and current affairs programming. (Please click here for a full press pack detailing content across BBC TV, radio and online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/ww1/

    Alongside the programming across TV and radio, the BBC will also offer resources and develop innovative ways in which everyone can explore the war as it affected them, their families and their local communities.

    Resources for schools will encourage children to think about what life was like during wartime and how daily life has changed over the past century. Online interactive resources will cover a number of school curriculum areas and, in the broader digital sphere, the portal at bbc.co.uk/ww1 will feature the first of the new innovative iWonder guides. Blending documentary, discussion and presenter led mini-films each guide takes online users through some of the key issues relating to the war, building to a collection of over 100 guides, this interactive content will offer a deeper understanding about the war and challenge preconceptions about the conflict.

  • World War One At Home: Digital

    Two hundred and thirty World War One At Home stories will launch online on 24 February, with hundreds more following later this year.

    Each story broadcast on radio and TV will be available to listen to online and the audience will be able to browse stories from across the UK, Ireland and the Channel islands, to find out how their area's experience contrasted with those elsewhere, and discover the nationwide experience of the Home Front.

    The stories will be classified by place (a BBC local area such as BBC Leeds or BBC Kent or a nation - BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland and BBCScotland) and by themes such as Sport, Working for the War, War in the Air.

    Each World War One At Home story including those with video will be shareable via social media.

    The stories provide a valuable local perspective to the BBC's Word War One digital offer across programmes, news, and the BBC iWonder Guides, showing the impact of global events on a local level. Links can be followed to local museums and organisations, encouraging the wider study of wartime topics, from the local letters and museums to the World War One At Home partner Imperial War Museums' Lives of the First World War.

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