National Recognition for Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars historians
Nine Men, Nine Lives, One Great War (part of Walkley Community Centre’s Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars) has won the Association for Heritage Interpretation 2015 Discover Heritage Award for best community project.
Nine Men, Nine Lives, One Great War took the award against stiff opposition in the Peak District and west Wales. Melanie FitzGerald, one of the Walkley Historians, accepted the award from AHI patron Loyd Grossman CBE at a gala ceremony in Newbury. The project, funded by a grant of £59,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, commemorates nine members of Walkley Reform Club who fought and died fighting during the First World War, and who are remembered in memorial windows at the centre.
Rick Allan, Chair of Walkley Community Centre said “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. Project manager Bill Bevan take a bow, Walkley Historians step forward, the lads remembered in the windows – our inspiration. Thank you all.”
The research involved locating photographs of the nine men to replace the faded images in the memorial windows, which were restored as part of the project, and can be seen in their original location in what is now Walkley Community Centre. A rededication ceremony took place, which was attended by family members of the men commemorated in the memorial window.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the project created an exhibition, displayed in local shops and St Mary’s Church, along with series of talks for the local community, and a dedicated webpage on the Walkley Community Centre website.
Loyd Grossman said “This year’s award winners showed a wide range of exciting and innovative interpretation all aimed at helping the public to get more enjoyment, more education and more benefit from our outstanding natural and cultural heritage.”
AHI judges commended the project for giving the First World War relevance, meaning and immediacy to the residents of Walkley through storytelling events, talks, local shop displays, a website and a simple permanent display next to the restored windows. You can find out more about the men here.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF in Yorkshire and the Humber, Fiona Spiers, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £70 million to more than 1,100 projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world. It is wonderful to see that the hard work and dedication of the people involved in the ‘Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars’ project has been acknowledged by AHI Discover Heritage Awards for best community project.”
The AHI Discover Heritage Awards are the only UK and Irish awards to recognise excellence in all types and sizes of heritage interpretation whether held in museums, historic buildings, visitor centres or any type of outdoor location. Any form of media is suitable including exhibition, print, digital, art or live. An eligible project can be small or large. Whether it is a new leaflet or a million-pound visitor centre (or anything in between), the awards celebrate projects that best meet their interpretive aims and successfully communicate their key messages to their audiences. The full list of winners, runners up and commended entries can be found at http://www.ahi.org.uk/www/awards/categories.
Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery @HLFYandH