The Forget Never commemorative exhibition started its journey at The Green Centre in Basildon, September 2014. The exhibition was opened by MP Stephen Metcalfe and Sandra Hirons from The Heritage Lottery Fund.
MP Stephen Metcalfe and Sandra Hiron from The Heritage Lottery Fund open the WW1 exhibition in Basildon
The unique nature of this project, as recognised by the Lottery Heritage Fund (who awarded the project over £50,000), is that it also brings together Basildon with it's two Twin Towns of Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus in Germany to create a mobile, tri-lingual exhibition. Over the next four years the exhibition will grow as it travels to France and Germany as well as all corners of the Borough.
The exhibition explores life in the three townships; attitudes from three points of view and, most importantly, allows us to remember the people – those who died, those who suffered incredible injuries and of course those who survived and kept the communities running during this important period in our history.
Prominent displays in the exhibitions feature:
- Images of what Basildon was like during the First World War
- A display that discusses the Heiligenhaus Youth Visit held in August 2014, where youths from Basildon, Heiligenhaus and Meaux met to plan a youth conference for 2015 based on the themes of conflict resolution and reconciliation.
- Research into 3 soldiers, George Burnett from Basildon, Louis Vallin from Meaux and Albert Kiekert from Heiligenhaus
- Research, images and information on Basildon's MP during WW1, The Right Honourable Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh
- Images and information on a commemorative cricket match held at Wickford Cricket Club to raise funds for a commemorative plaque for the club
- Images of the 9 War Memorials across the Basildon Borough
- A selection of properganda postcards from across Europe
- A selection of artworks created by School pupils and local artists
The Art exhibition displayed in the centre, showcased local talent from all ages and how they had chosen to respond to the centenary of The Great War. Art works featured pencil sketches of the Lusitania, a model of a Zeppelin, a wreath made out of loom band poppies, a large canvas representing trench life, painting of poppies, paintings and drawings of soldiers from World War 1 (including relatives of some local artists) and a glass work that represented the 3 soldiers to feature in the projects Christmas Concert – George Burnett from Basildon, Louis Vallin from Meaux and Albert Kiekert from Heiligenhaus.
A local youth Matthew Edson read out a speech he had prepared on his thoughts and reaction after visiting Basildon’s twinning town Heiligenhaus in Germany in August. One of the stand out comments from his speech was how the group had been moved by the number of injuries caused to soldiers and how this is not taught in schools. As a result of the group’s findings, 3 secondary school within the area have now included this into their curriculum when covering WW1.
A variety of local archive and historical groups attended the opening to showcase research and findings relating to their parishes history during World War 1.
Local MP Stephen Metcalfe and Chair of Basildon Twinning Association Robert Sheridan
Staff and volunteers arrived at the exhibition in period dress.
Matthew Edson reading his speech to the audience at the exhibition in Basildon
A selection of the art works on show at the exhibition
The exhibition was open daily between 10am -4pm until the end of October 2014 before moving on to Meaux in France in December and then Heiligenhaus in Germany in February.
The exhibition was opened in Meaux by the town’s Mayor Jean Francois Cope in December 2014
The exhibition all set up and ready for the opening in Meaux, France
Jan Heinisch, Mayor of Heiligenhaus opened the exhibition when it travelled there in February 2015
We were delighted to have Fricklesome Amsel, the German folk band play a few tunes at the opening of the exhibition in Heiligenhaus
At the exhibition we met with Johnathon Horst and Jonas Lagos, two German youths who have liaised and worked with the team throughout the project
The exhibition in Heiligenhaus