Project looking for stories from WWI

Employees of Meadow Dairy Company on Saville Street, North Shields. Picture courtesy of Discover North Tyneside, North Tyneside Libraries.
Employees of Meadow Dairy Company on Saville Street, North Shields. Picture courtesy of Discover North Tyneside, North Tyneside Libraries.

A new heritage project commemorating the centenary of the First World War is exploring the impact it had on businesses in North Shields.

Business as Usual, led by North Tyneside VODA and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will support 25 young volunteers, who have additional needs.

They will research and document how high streets, business owners and their employees dealt with the daily grind of war and the changes that happened as a result.

The project is looking for stories, accounts, photographs and artefacts from between 1914 and 1918, and is calling on local people and businesses to come forward if they have anything that may be of interest.

VODA’s project worker Jo Woolley said: “The Great War had a huge effect on all aspects of life in Britain, and this is a very interesting angle that we are exploring.

“We know that some of the businesses and buildings that we see on our high streets today were directly affected by the events of the war, and it would be fantastic for anyone with a story or images, archives or artefacts to come forward and share them with the young people.

“We already know the war led to recruitment offices popping up on high streets, that there was an increase in the number of female employees and that there were restrictions on the use of street lights – we want to explore and record how all of this affected the people involved and how it shaped our high streets today.”

Anyone who has a story to share or for more about the project, contact Jo Woolley on (0191) 643 2626 or email jo.woolley@voda.org.uk

VODA will work alongside pupils from TyneMet College’s Social and Vocational Skills course, and other local organisations including Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future, Time Bandits and the Tynemouth First World War Commemoration Project.

The project will see the young people taking part in a number of creative workshops and visits to places of interest, such as Beamish Museum.

It will culminate in a special World War I High Street Day, focussing on Northumberland Square and Howard Street in North Shields.