Thornbury and The Great War: The Peace and Beyond

Exhibition: Tue 12 Jun 2018 - Fri 21 Dec 2018
Venue: The Museum Admission: FREE

What happened locally when the Great War ended in 1918?     How did Thornbury and the local villages welcome home men who had been away for so long and seen so much?  How did they commemorate those that didn’t come home?

Come and see photos, objects and documents showing what happened in Thornbury, Charfield, Cromhall, Tytherington, Olveston, Littleton, Tockington, Alveston, Pilning and Redwick, and Oldbury on Severn.  The Littleton vicar penned a special Welcome Home Song for the returning soldiers and sailors, and sang it to them, to the tune of Widdecombe Fair!

And what about the people back home?  What happened locally when the global influenza pandemic struck here?  The exhibition gives several local instances of deaths among the civilian population, especially among healthy young adults.  Adverts for various alleged remedies – or preventatives – are on display, from the harmless to the frankly bizarre.

The Thornbury bicycle shop owner probably wasn’t alone in seeing a business opportunity in the end of the war.  In an advert in the South Gloucestershire Chronicle for 29th November of that year, headed “Peace in Sight!”, the shop owner urged local people to “Procure your BICYCLE without DELAY”.  Offering Ladies’ and Gents’ Raleigh bicycles at prices from 11 to 20 Guineas, he warned “Advantage should be taken of this opportunity, as in a short time Bicycles may be unprocurable”.   He was clearly determined to draw attention to the downside of troops returning home… while hoping to make a profit from it himself.

In this centenary of the final year of the Great War, do come and discover some of the fascinating details of our own area one hundred years ago.

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