|Tatton Park's WW1 Commemorative Flame|
The centenary of the outbreak of World War One has quite rightly been in the spotlight allowing everyone time for reflection either on their own or as part of an organised event.
For someone with a lifelong interest in history and military matters I too have spent much time reading and reflecting on the conflict and its legacy. This interest and my close connections with Tatton Park lead to me earlier this year joining a small research team and contributing to an exhibition held there to commemorate the war and its impact on the estate, its workers and of course the Egerton family.
The exhibition took its "We Will See it Through":Tatton Reflects 1914-1918 title from a rousing recruitment speech given by Alan De Tatton, at Knutsford town hall shortly after the wars outbreak - no mean feat given that at the wars declaration he was enjoying a spa break in Germany and initially held captive!
The preparation for the exhibition was both challenging and rewarding as we slowly uncovered many fascinating stories and from an original concern about whether we would have 'enough' material it soon became clear that the worry would be about what to leave out. Sadly, even in a sizable display room, there wasn't room to include everything but we included some fascinating exhibits both from Tatton's collection and through loans and donations from relatives of those connected with Tatton at the time.
|Sadly I don't have any close-up pictures of the display items - sorry!|
|There weren't photos of some of the featured estate workers, so I provided these images|
|The children's colouring & reading table proved very popular!|
The exhibition was appropriately opened on 4th August 2014, the centenary of course of Britain's declaration of war 100 years before. Coincidentally the date was also Maurice Egerton, Tatton's last Lord's, 40th birthday. Tatton had also been chosen as one of the focal points of the local council's WW1 commemorations, under its Cheshire East Reflects banner. This saw the installation of an eternal flame in its grounds which was lit by Tatton's MP, chancellor George Osborne in a special commemorative event on the 4th August which I attended.
As Tatton's 2014 season draws to a close, preparations for the forthcoming Christmas event are underway, meaning that our WW1 exhibition has now closed. Research though continues and it is planned that the exhibition will return, updated at a future date as commemorations reflect the wars duration.
Given the exhibition's closure and today's armistice date I thought it timely to show a few of the exhibition and the commemorative flame images here. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the exhibition and for the many poignant visitor comments and memories received which gave a deeper meaning to this year's commemorations.