Temporary Exhibitions Room
The Temporary Exhibitions Gallery showcases our main social history exhibitions, with five or so exhibitions staged annually.
First World War 1914-1919 Memories and Memorabilia
"An officer dancing in the nude." Some 60 years after the event, that is what stuck in the mind of Mr Dash as he recounted his life in the Royal Flying Corps during World War One. It is just one of a number of revealing memories retold in Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery’s new temporary exhibition, opening on 9 January 2014.
Using previously unseen photographs, unpublished wartime memories and the museum’s unique collection of wartime posters, the fascinating exhibition gives an insight into the conflict. Rather than trying to capture the scope, drama and impact of World War One, this fascinating exhibition uses the memories of six Horsham individuals, survivors of the Great War whose stories were captured back in the 1970s by Jane Bowen and donated to the museum. They reveal a conflict that is not all about trenches or war time poets, though thanks to a generous loan by Christ’s Hospital school, on display is the celebrated war poet Edmund Blunden’s uniform. Blunden, a pupil of the school, cycled from Horsham to Chichester to sign on and the war played a key part in his life and poetry. Along with the memories are such remarkable survivals as a World War One periscope, Valentine’s cards, silk handkerchiefs, uniforms and knitted ware.
Thanks to the BBC TV programme ‘The Wipers Times,’ that satirical magazine written, printed and published on the front has gained increased awareness. The people of Sussex may not realise that Horsham had its own version, produced by soldiers based in the town. A rare complete set will be on display in the two month long exhibition. It is the powerful, previously unseen photographs of the war taken by an unknown soldier who then trained to fly in the Royal Flying Corps that may catch the visitor’s attention, images from Egypt and reconnaissance photographs taken over the trenches capture his life, while the tragedy of those who died in training is also revealed. These images are complimented by other rarely seen views of the war that have been collected together over 25 years by local historian Gary Cooper. While visually the images capture the attention they don’t overawe the fantastic memories of those who served and survived. Memories of tank warfare, of chaperoning, but failing, young ladies who drove officers around, of serving in the Royal Navy, of digging trenches and collecting dead bodies abound.
Due to popularity, ‘The First World War 1914-1919 Memories and Memorabilia’ will now remain open at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery until 10 May 2014.