Merton’s war history set to be carved in stone

An exciting new heritage project called ‘Carved in Stone’ is set to explore the lives of those commemorated on local memorials around Merton.

Following Merton Council’s successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a grant of £80,900, the Carved in Stone project is set to start this month and will explore the lives of Merton residents who served during the First World War, especially those who are commemorated on local memorials and grave markers across the borough. The project will ensure that details of the lives and experiences of Merton people during the First World War can be collected and recorded whilst information and memorabilia can still be made available by their immediate family.

As part of the project, the council’s heritage and local studies team will be holding several War Story days and events over the next two years, giving people an opportunity to find out about the role of Merton residents on the Home Front as well as the life stories of combatants.

Following the successful work carried out by volunteers and community groups during the Merton Memories project which explored 150 years of the borough’s history through photography, Merton Heritage Service now wants to recruit additional volunteers to work on the Carved in Stone initiative. This will involve a range of activities from digitising historic documents and researching Merton’s wartime history, to filming interviews with the descendants of war combatants, creating heritage trails, exhibitions and school resources.

People interested in volunteering on this project can email the Heritage and Local Studies team at local.studies@merton.gov.uk or call 020 8545 3239 for more details.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “I’m thrilled that we’ve received this funding from the HLF to run another brilliant heritage project following the success of Merton Memories. This is an excellent opportunity for the people of Merton to commemorate those who served and died on the Home Front during the First World War as well as being a great way to learn about the borough’s war history. Our library and heritage projects would not be as successful as they are without the help of the fantastic volunteers who get involved and bring the projects to life. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in then get in touch with the team. I would also encourage everyone to keep an eye out for events that are being planned over the coming months.”

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “From army camps and major recruitment centres to the sheltering of refugees and the work of local suffragettes, Merton has a wealth of First World War heritage, but it is not very well known. We’re pleased to support Carved in Stone which will ensure the borough’s wartime story and its continuing legacy is shared and heard by the local community for generations to come.”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. About the Heritage Lottery Fund

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk