The Lymm History Society, visited the High School on Friday in collaboration with The Relationships Centre as part of the Centre’s Heritage Lottery funded Project, “Us and Them and Way Back When” which aims to make links between young people and their local community.
The centre bases their work with young people from local schools on the period from 1877, when the premises in Museum Street was built, through to present day. The focus of the day for Lymm students was Cheshire’s contribution to World War One.
Students showed great interest in a story, visitor David, from the Lymm History Society shared about how both his grandfathers had met and fought together in World War One, with one of them unfortunately being killed in combat in 1918. The artefacts also inspired students to talk about their own heritage with many of them being aware of great grandfather’s that had fought for king and country. One student said ‘my Great Grandfather suffered from shellshock after the war and had terrible nightmares’, which brought home the harsh realities of war and the long-lasting effects that it had.
The society also shared personal stories taken from war records of individual soldiers listed on the War Memorials in St Mary’s Church, St Peter’s Church and High Legh. Brian informed students about how his own Grandfather had reacted when seeing the memorial during his cousins wedding and how this was the only time where he had shown emotion about his time in the war.
Students were thoroughly engaged in the session with many asking insightful questions such as ‘How much would soldiers get paid?’, ‘Did your grandfather ever tell you about his time in World War One?’ and ‘What was the most common weapon used?’.
The society shared the research that they have compiled from the individual soldiers listed on the War Memorials and students enjoyed looking through these records for anyone that shared their name or had particularly courageous story.
The favourite artefact of the day however was a visitor’s book from a local military hospital in Lymm, where soldiers had written poems, drawn pictures, or simply said thank you to the nurses for supporting their recovery. It was a real find and the group were very thankful for the opportunity to handle such rare items.
The World War One visit, offered to members of the Lymm High School Scholar’s programme which aims to add further challenge and enrichment opportunities for students, highlighted the importance of learning about local history and how ordinary people do extraordinary things.
Jackie Cooling from The Relationships Centre said “It is our aim to enable the young people of Warrington to embrace their wonderful local heritage, and to build bridges between the young people and older generations who have many stories to tell.”
“We are so pleased to have Brian Smith from the Lymm History Society speak to students at Lymm High School about Lymm during WW1 and also telling them the real life story of his grandfather, Thomas Ingham Smith who lost his life whilst fighting for his country.”
Following the session, students will take part in a Remembrance Ceremony and look around the memorials, conducting their own research into ancestors who may have fought in World War One.
They plan to use their research as inspiration to design a war memorial, write a poem or create a memory square to be displayed at 19 Museum Street in Warrington during the summer. An opening night at the Parr Hall is planned where a selection of students that have entered pieces will be able to visit with their families to see their work and the contributions of other Warrington primary and secondary schools.