Crich museum seek visitor input on war memorial sculpture

A First World War memorial at Crich will be a permanent reminder of a period often recreated at museum events.
A First World War memorial at Crich will be a permanent reminder of a period often recreated at museum events.

Artists working on a new First World War memorial sculpture at the National Tramway Museum in Crich are seeking public input on the design.

Neil Musson and Jono Retallick are to host two workshops later this month to give people a chance to find out more about the project and help develop the ideas behind it.

Museum curator Laura Waters said: “We are really excited to be working with Neil and Jono on this project.

“The input they have had so far from staff, volunteers and local schools and community groups has been invaluable.”

She added: “We want to offer more of the public the opportunity to contribute, so the final sculptures will be have meaning for many people.”

There will be a public workshop at the museum on Thursday, August 17, and a second one for young Tramway Museum Society members , on Friday, August 18, both 10am to 3.30pm.

The sessions are part of the Conversations and Memories project, which has seen Musson and Retallick trawl the museum archives for inspiration.

Tramways all over the UK lost many men to the war effort— a fact that is not well recognised or commemorated—and saw significant social change such as the rising professional status of women.

The museum collection includes a wealth of material relevant to the period, including oral history recordings, rolls of honour, employee records, wage books and photographs.

The final artwork will consist of groups of abstract steel figures, standing in different locations around the village.

Each group will represent a different story: soldiers huddled in the trenches, families awaiting the return of their loved ones, women working together to keep the trams running or people waiting for a tram to take them to recruit.

The project has been funded through a £15,000 from Arts Council England, and £7,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Visitors planning to attend the workshop can also enjoy the museum’s Wonderful Woods Week activities.

Spokesman Amanda Blair said: “There will be eco and wildlife activities for all the family, so you could drop into the artist’s workshop, which is really fascinating.”

For more details, visit www.tramway.co.uk or call 01773 854321.