Big Recording Month- Week 1: Introduction to Home Front Legacy 1914-18
August is the Home Front Legacy Big Recording Month. During this month we aim to get as many people as possible recording sites throughout the UK. To help you get involved, we will be posting a new blog each week that focuses on a different aspect of the recording process; showing you how to research, re-discover and record First World War Home Front sites in your local area. You can follow along at your own speed and most importantly, you don’t need any prior experience to get involved and help us to build up a national picture of the Home Front.
What is Home Front Legacy 1914-18?
Home Front Legacy 1914-18 is a UK-wide recording project co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology with funding and support from Historic England. The project enables individuals, community groups, schools, youth groups and families to investigate their local area and record the forgotten archaeological remains of the First World War Home Front.
By getting involved you can help to build up a local and national picture of surviving and lost Home Front sites. These records can then be used by your local Historic Environment service to inform local planning decisions and ensure significant and rare sites receive protection. Your records can also help preserve the personal stories attached to these sites for future generations.
Young people, schools and families can get involved through our Home Front Legacy 1914-18 young person’s resources which features many fun and engaging activities for the next generation of archaeologists.
What impact did the First World War (World War One) have at home?
When you think of the First World War the first thing to spring to mind are trenches and fighting in France and Belgium, however the war had a huge impact on the landscapes, buildings and people at home.
The army requisitioned acres of land to build training camps and provide an area for the newly formed battalions to train for their upcoming deployment to the front. The government requisitioned hundreds of civilian factories to produce war materiel, such as shells, bullets, uniforms, boots, aircraft components, and any other equipment that was required for the war effort. Hospitals to treat wounded soldiers were established in stately homes, large town houses, schools and town halls. The First World War saw the UK come under attack from the air. Air ships and fixed wing aircraft dropped thousands of bombs throughout the country, destroying and damaging many buildings. The military reacted to these raids by establishing an air defence network consisting of observer posts, listening stations, anti-aircraft guns and Home Defence airfields.
After the war, many of these sites were no longer required. The training camps were dismantled, their accommodation huts sold to be used elsewhere and the land returned to farmland. The requisitioned factories producing war materiel went back to producing items for the civilian market. The hospitals returned to being stately homes, schools and town halls. The buildings damaged by air raids were repaired or demolished and the anti-aircraft defences were eventually mothballed. As a result, the First World War use of many of these sites and buildings remains to be re-discovered and recorded. This is where you can help by finding and recording sites in your local area.
During Big Recording Month we would like you to record much as you can about the following themes: local events, the role of women, and food and rationing. You can find out more about these themes HERE
Please note- War memorials are commonly associated with the Home Front but the majority were constructed after the war. We are not encouraging people to record war memorials for Home Front Legacy 1914-18. Local war memorials can be recorded through the War Memorials Online and listed examples can be recorded through Historic England’s Enriching the List.
How do I find sites?
There are a number of ways that you can find sites. Archive research, investigating archaeological records, reading local history books, visiting your local museum, listening to oral history accounts or investigating local stories you are aware of are all great ways of finding sites to record. We will cover this in more detail in Week 2, but in the meantime you can investigate our Map of Sites to see what is recorded in your local area.
How do I record sites?
Sites are recorded with our online recording app. This app is accessed by registering on our website. Once you are registered you will have you access to our free recording app and Member Toolkit.
The app provides you with all the tools you will need to record a site and you don’t need any prior archaeological experience to use it. The app works on laptop and desktop computers, as well as smartphone or tablet devices, both ‘on site’ or in the comfort of your own home.
We recommend that you practice accessing the recording app and using some of its features before you record your site.
This video will show you how to access the recording app on a mobile or tablet device.
Tasks for this week-
Practice accessing the recording app and have a go at using some of its features
Next week we will be looking at sources of information and where you can go to find sites in your local area.