Tell us their stories… Remember their lives … (2)

The last of three roadshows was held at Sharoe Green Library on Friday 21st November, encouraging people to come forward with their stories and memorabilia relating to their Preston relatives from the First World War. We made some wonderful discoveries, including some amazing trench art, items made whilst in a Prisoner of War camp, poignant letters, and a highly unusual medal. Look out on our Stories page for more details of these soon….

All the items and stories we record are being added to the Imperial War Museum’s ground breaking website Lives of the First World War which is hoping to capture and remember the details of the 8 million people who contributed to the war. Why not see if you can find your relative on there and add your stories and memorabilia to remember them?

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Vegetable Products Committee were formed in December 1914 by the Preston Horticultural Society to collect fruit, vegetables and jam for the Royal Navy. More images of the Vegetable Committee on Flickr

Preston’s Gift to the Royal Navy

During World War One, Preston and Fulwood Horticultural Society set up the Preston branch of the Vegetable Products Committee for Naval Supply. The committee collected fruit, vegetables and jam from the public to send to Royal Navy ships, torpedo craft and submarines.

In 1915 the committee were provided with a rent free shop on Friargate to use as a depot. Donations of fruit, vegetables, jam and other miscellaneous items such as woollen scarves were collected and regularly dispatched to Royal Navy bases. Throughout the war, the committee and the people of Preston received recognition in the press and over 300 letters of thanks from servicemen.

According to London officials, the Preston branch was reported as an ‘easy first’ amid the 800 branches in the excellent work done. At the end of October 1917, it was revealed the branch had not missed a single week in dispatching large batches of fruit, vegetables and jam. The number of large packages shipped was 4,000 with the value of £1,500. By 1919, the Vegetable Products Committee had received £3,250 in donations to support their work.

Sir David Beatty, the Admiral of the Fleet, acknowledged the work of Preston’s Vegetable Products Committee in a letter written on 6th April 1919. The letter mentions a permanent memorial in Preston Town hall commemorating the work of the committee. The location of this memorial is currently unknown – it may have perished in the Town Hall fire of 1947. While Admiral Beatty was receiving the Honorary Freedom of Liverpool, he sent two destroyers the Velox and the Watchman to recognise the generosity of the Preston people. The ships docked on the 3rd April, stayed for four days and received 50,000 visitors.

Post written by Beth Garlington, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tell us their stories… remember their lives….

The first of three community roadshows was held at the Harris library, museum and art gallery on 11th November. Many people came forward to share and record their memorabilia and stories relating to their relatives from the First World War. Amazing photographs and items were revealed including original dog tags belonging to those who had served from Preston.

Two further roadshows are being held on:

Saturday 15th November 10.30am – 3pm at the Museum of Lancashire

Friday 21st November 10.30am – 3pm at Sharoe Green Library

For more details contact Claire Selby on or 01772 906880

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crocheted poppies pay tribute to the fallen

Local craft group, The Crafty Project has installed over 600 crocheted and knitted poppies on the stairway of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the First World War.

Group member, Deborah Simpson had the idea to crochet poppies as part of the commemorations for Remembrance in November. Deborah had a personal connection to the First World War. Her great grandfather, John Stirzaker, is named on the Harris Roll of Honour. He died on the 13th May 1915, aged 34 leaving behind a wife and 5 young daughters.

The group enthusiastically responded to this idea and created hundreds of poppies to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They have been installed on the stairway of the Harris, close to the Preston Roll of Honour which commemorates almost 2000 men.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014