Leicestershire YAC investigate the Home Front
On 20th January 2018, on a very cold, wet and windy day, Leicestershire YAC became archaeological detectives.
They began hunting for evidence of the First World War in their area to help the Home Front Legacy 1914-18 project.
The project is run by the Council for British Archaeology, and it enables all sorts of people to get involved in recording sites from the First World War to be included on a special map. Session leader Debbie Frearson told YAC what they got up to...
Lots to look at!
Before the session, I visited the Home Front Legacy map of sites, and discovered that up until now, only Leicester Train Station in our area has been recorded for the project. I also registered with the project on the website and set up a free account for Leicestershire YAC so that any sites that our members record for the project can be uploaded easily using the online app.
Many of our indoor sessions for Leicestershire YAC are based at the University of Leicester in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History. Using the University website and information from the Leicester History Society, I was able to see that there were quite a few buildings and background histories within 10 minutes walking that could be used as recording projects. So there was definitely lots to look at!
Videos and pictures
The session was split into three parts: we started with a discussion about the Home Front Legacy project and what the Home Front was, using some of the young people's resources (available here on the YAC website); we then watched the Home Front Project films made by members of Sheffield YAC (you can watch the first one at the bottom of this page, or visit YouTube to watch all six of the films as a 'box set'!); and then it was time to have a go at actually recording a real First World War site!
A First World War hospital
We had planned to try and record three sites for the project, but unfortunately the weather became quite awful! So, instead we stayed on the university campus and explored the Fielding Johnson building. This was previously a lunatic asylum which had gone out of use and was re-used at a hospital during the First World War.
We split our 24 YAC members into three groups, and each group recorded a different 'face' of the building; north, south and the main frontage, noting all the features with the clipboard and pencil in hand. We decided to record the building on paper first, and will use the special Home Front Legacy recording app to upload the information that we collected to the map of sites later.
Despite the grotty weather, we had great fun recording the building, and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the First World War Home Front.
You can get involved with the Home Front Legacy 1914-18 project and help to record the remains of the First World War Home Front here in the UK!.
Find out more on the project website! Why not ask your friends, family and school to help you with your research? You can get out and about and record the places and buildings that you discover and upload your discoveries to the map of sites; you'll be adding to real research and may even become a Home Front Legcay Champion! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
And remember to check out the young people's resources to help you discover more about the First World War Home Front (available here on the YAC website).