The Trench exhibition finished at Aerospace Bristol on Sunday 14th October and last week the Shrouds were carefully packed up, loaded and transported to a storage facility in Stafford by our amazing project partners at DHL, ready for London in just over 2 weeks time.
Not all of the Shrouds are in Stafford – there are also 3,700 en route back from the recent display in Belfast and several thousand in Rob’s shed in Somerset, were Rob is busily wrapping the last few (last count: 2,000 to go!) in time for the big event.
It is now just 17 days until our London event opens – when all 72,396 Shrouds will be laid out together for the first and only time. We’ll be regularly updating our events page and our website FAQ page with details of the event, but for now here’s what you need to know:
The event is FREE and open from 10am – 7pm from Thursday 8th November until Sunday 18th November.
There will be a few special things going on during the event including a remembrance service on the 11th, a free poetry workshop on the 13th and a Royal visit from HRH Princess Anne on the 15th November. Please see our events page for details of these and other events – and some information on how to get there.
If you would like to visit the AreclorMittal Orbit (tower) next to the Shrouds during your visit then we have a special 10% discount code available for the duration of the Shrouds event. The code is SOMME18 you can book here: http://arcelormittalorbit.com/visit/opening-times-prices/
Our schools programme workshops have been proving very popular so far with both pupils and teachers alike. The workshops are for schools local to the Queen Elizabeth Park.
We have a range of free educational resources for KS2 and KS3 students available on our website and we hope that by studying and visiting the Shrouds, some of these young people will gain a better understanding of the impact of WW1 and what huge numbers of losses – like 72,396 – actually mean in human terms.
We also currently have 2,500 pupils booked in to come and see the Shrouds in London. If your school is interested in booking a school trip you can do so here: https://www.shroudsofthesomme.com/schools-programme/school-visits/
Meanwhile in France the Lost Lives exhibition at Thiepval has been very well received by visitors to the site. Lost Lives is an exhibition of 1,561 Shrouds. One for each day of the war with the losses for each day written on a wooden sign behind them.
A couple of weeks ago Rob visited Thiepval with BBC Breakfast and had this to say about the exhibition:
“To see it so starkly written, with each day of the First World War represented by a single shroud and then the death toll for each individual day illustrates the sacrifices made. Some days you have 200 or so deaths and then on July 1 1916 you see it leap to 19,240 on the first day of the Somme. Under no circumstances can we forget what those men did on the first day of the Somme, they stepped out, they didn’t fight, they died – they were that brave. Very few got to fire a shot, they went over the top, stood up and they died, row after row of them died on this very ground.”
Glyn Prysor, Chief Historian CWGC added
“It’s really hard to comprehend the scale of that loss, it’s really heard to imagine what 72,000 people look like. Today we maybe think of a football stadium. Often when people come here and visit they find it hard to comprehend what actually happened here.
“It’s too easy sometimes to slip into those rituals of remembrance and to say those words without really thinking about what they mean and I think on a very basic level Rob’s work confronts you with the reality of what that war really meant. For each of the names on this memorial it’s not just a life lost, it’s a family shattered, a community devastated, an impact and a legacy that continues through the generations even today.
Lost Lives will be on display at Thiepval until 5th November before returning to the UK where it will be on display alongside the Shrouds at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
We’ve now got just 3 days left until our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign ends at 11am on Thursday 25th October.
If you’ve already pledged then thank you very much – if not, please take a look. The badges are uniquely numbered from 1-72,396 so no two are the same. It is your chance to be a part of this project and show your support as well. Pledge here: http://kck.st/2NCTpgE