What's On

War memorial

Commemorating 100 years since the Great War. For more information about events in the area see Visit Lancashire.

UCLan events to commemorate World War One

Preston Remembers Tour: John Gregson, 20 February
This tour will focus on the fascinating life of John Gregson. John was orphaned at an early age and went on to join the army before the war.

Preston Remembers Tour: Beatrice Blackhurst, 20 February
This tour will focus on the fascinating life of Beatrice Blackhurst. A mother and campaigner she was part of the committee that set up the Preston Station Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Free Buffet.

Preston Remembers Tour: Joseph Garstang, 21 February
This tour will focus on the fascinating life of Joseph Garstang. A market gardener, personal trainer and conscientious objector.

First World War Commemorative Conference, 26-27 February
This two-day conference follows the pioneering lead of scholars including Jay Winter, Adrian Gregory, Maggie Andrews, Dan Todman and Mark Connelly to explore the contours and contestations of commemorating and remembering the First World War.

History, Politics and Philosophy Seminar: The Football Charge at the Battle of Loos

 football ww1

Dr Iain Adams will be running a seminar on the Football Charge at the Battle of Loos on Wednesday February 10th.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome to attend.

For further enquiries contact Iain Adams on 01772 894915.

Past Events


A new AHRC publication has been launched that presents and celebrates the richness and diversity of research into World War One. From the experience of Indian soldiers in the trenches to the role of women in peace campaigns, from Professor Tim Kendall’s work on the composer and poet Ivor Gurney to the coastal war, the publication uncovers a wealth of research funded by the AHRC through different schemes and modes of funding.

Among the other topics covered in the publication are: the role of cartoons in conveying information about the experiences both of soldiers and of those at home; the German naval threat that fuelled the build-up to war; the impact of the war on the Middle East; and projects exploring the significance of the centenary and the ways in which the war is taught in schools. The arts are well represented through an exploration of the work of American painter Horace Pippin and the impact of the war on sculptors such as Ivor Roberts-Jones and Charles Sargent Jagger, while major initiatives such as the AHRC’s collaboration with the BBC, World War One at Home, and the recent launch of the five national WW1 Engagement Centres, a partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, also play a prominent role.

In an interview that introduces the publication, Professor Andrew Thompson, Theme Leadership Fellow for the Care for the Future theme, says:

“The arts and humanities can contribute enormously to centenary events, not least through the variety of perspectives that they provide. This isn’t just about understanding the causes and consequences of the war, but the shifting interpretations of the war over time… The value of research lies in its unearthing of new evidence which may challenge entrenched myths and guard against commemoration being hijacked for more immediate political agendas.”

You can download the publication, Beyond the Trenches (.PDF 17MB). To request a print copy of the publication, please write to

Ex-Servicemen After The Great War

At the end of the First World War a number of distinct new political voices emerged. Famously, reform in 1918 brought a female voice to the electorate. Less well known is the growth in ex-servicemen’s organisations. Some were radical in nature, and these groups provided a voice for hundreds of thousands of men who served in the conflict. With strong allegiances to class as well as nation, their political credentials were confirmed by running candidates in the 1918 election. The political dimension only came to an end with amalgamation to form the British Legion in 1921. Come and join historians and members of the Royal British Legion to discuss this forgotten legacy of the First World War. The day marks the end of the museum’s First World War exhibition A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class.

This event is a partnership with the University of Hertfordshire First World War Engagement Centre, Everyday Lives in War and the Royal British Legion.

31 JANUARY 2015


A lecture by Dr Jenny Clegg. UCLan Confucius Institute Lecture Series.

It is little known generally in the West that during World War One, a Chinese workforce numbering some 140,000 men was recruited by the British and French armies to serve in the battlefields of France. Several thousands were to lose their lives in service to the Allied forces. The 'Great War' significantly reshaped the world in the 20th century, not least China. An understanding the world of today can only be a partial one without an appreciation of China's involvement in the European theatre and the profound impact this experience was to have in the subsequent unfolding of revolution and war in the East.

As 2014 has marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, this lecture takes the opportunity explore this wartime encounter between China and the West. Recovering the history of the Chinese Labour Corps at the Western front, it asks: who were these workers and what were the circumstances which brought them to France? What of their experiences in a foreign land, and the understandings of the West that they brought back when they were repatriated? What influences did these experiences of World War One have in shaping China's emerging national consciousness as it sought to find its place within the wider Western dominated world? And why has this aspect of European history been so overlooked?


Remembrance Event

11 NOVEMBER 2014

At 10.50 am on Tuesday 11th November, Gerry Kelleher will lead the annual University Act of Remembrance outside St Peter’s Arts Centre. He invites staff and students to attend the fifteen minute ceremony of remembrance and reconciliation followed by tea and coffee in the Atrium on this the 100th Anniversary year of Britain’s entry into the First World War.


A Fate Worse Than Death

A Fate Worse Than Death? Lamenting First World War Captivity

This paper explores grief regarding British servicemen captured by the Germans during the First World War. It examines Prisoner of War (POW) mortality and analyses how death in captivity was privately mourned and publically represented. This study reveals that fallen POWs were subsumed as part of the homogenized war dead, facilitating their conceptualization within a narrative which valorised their sacrifice. However, for POWs who did not die (and for their families), cultural discourses about capture ascribed meanings which resulted in their fate being both lamented and being seen as lamentable. The post-war results were a silencing of POW experiences within the collective memory and history of the war: dead POWs were obscured, indistinct amongst the fallen; returning POWs largely chose to remain silent and, in any case, the post-war lionization of the battlefield dead denied them a language to vocalise and memorialize their wartime experiences.

Oliver Wilkinson completed his doctoral thesis, ‘Challenging Captivity: British Prisoners Of War in Germany during The First World War’, at Lancaster University in 2012. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of modern warfare with specific attention paid to the experiences of captured British servicemen. He has published on POW letters; the form and function of the inmate magazines produced inside POW camps; and is preparing his first monograph on the experiences of captured British servicemen during the First World War. 

He has recently been appointed as a Research Assistant in History at the University of Central Lancashire having previously held a Teaching Assistantship and Honorary Research status at Lancaster University and an Associate Lectureship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

WW1 image


The University of Central Lancashire in collaboration with the Universities of Hertfordshire, Essex, Northampton, Exeter and Lincoln, is one of five First World War Engagement Centres funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The centre aims to connect and encourage academic and community research on the First World War as part of the Centenary.

The centre will run a wide programme of open events, free workshops and online resources related to a World War One theme. We liaise with the Heritage Lottery Fund to support HLF-funded projects, and also welcome enquires and ideas from individuals with no connections to HLF.

For more details please visit the website or contact us via email.




Dr Nicholas Mansfield, Senior Research Fellow at UCLan, will be giving a talk at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. Nick’s talk will explore why most trade unions and socialists supported the war, how they helped raise and sustain volunteers for the army and how these working class efforts won the war, achieving some modest gains. Suggested donation to attend the talk is £3 and places can be booked online. The talk is part of the museum’s current changing exhibition entitled ‘A Land Fit For Heroes’ which examines how WW1 changed society, radically altering the social, economic, cultural and political outlook of the British people. The exhibition is available to view between 24 May 2014 to 1 February 2015.

The Working Class at War



The Manchester Centre for Regional History is delighted to invite you to the Imperial War Museum North for the joint launch of two new books: Nick Mansfield and Craig Horner, The Great War: Localities and Regional Identities (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014) and Nick Mansfield, The Great War and the North West (Manchester Region History Review, vol 24, 2013). Nick is a senior research fellow within the University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The event will include short talks by another member of the same school; David Swift, the only author to contribute to both books. David will speak on working-class patriotism during the First World War and beyond. Helen McCartney (Kings College, London) will also be speaking on local patriotism in the North West. The launch will be held at the Imperial War Museum North at Salford Quays (Quay West, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ). The event will take place in the Libeskind Room, and starts at 2.30pm. Light refreshments are served from 3.30pm.

Admission is free but please book in advance. To book, please go to the IWMN webpage and book via Quay Tickets.


Saturday 13 September

Step through the historic doors into some of Preston’s fascinating buildings. Seventeen historic buildings and sites with stories to tell are opening on Saturday 13 and/or Sunday 14 September for Heritage Open Days. This is a one-off chance to discover more of Preston’s architectural heritage through special tours, displays and information. One of the highlights of the weekend is the University’s very own St Peter’s Arts Centre.

St Peter’s is a redundant Grade 2* listed church which is now used as an arts centre here at UCLan. The venue houses events such as the annual Graduate Fashion Show and a range of theatre performances right in the heart of the University, becoming somewhat an icon in the campus landscape.

Built in the 1820s as an early commissioners ‘Waterloo’ church – an act of Parliament in 1818 financed the building of nearly 100 Anglican churches after the Napoleonic Wars. A bequest funded the addition of the tower and spire 30 years later.

Tours are at 11.00am and 12noon on the 13th, no need to book just turn up. For further information on this event please visit the Heritage Open Days website.

Campus St Peters

Getting To Grips With The First World War

21 June 2014

What part did your ancestors play in the First World War? How did the war affect your community? How has the war been remembered? Would you like to know more about family medals or souvenirs from the war? Don’t know where to begin?

Whether you are a seasoned campaigner or a new recruit, this event is designed to help you to find out more about the war and how it affected your family and community. Experts from Preston’s museums, archives and historical societies will be on hand to show you how you can use their resources to understand the war and its effects. Find out how to access funding for First World War related community projects from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If you have any items dating from First World War and would like to know more, bring them along for some guidance (sorry we cannot give valuations).

For further information and a programme of the day’s events, please contact:- Jane Davies, Curator at Lancashire Infantry Museum or 01772 260584

Duke of Lancaster

The Red Rose Great Write Competition

February 2014

With the Centenary of World War One in 2014, UCLan Publishing looked for authors and illustrators for short fiction based around any experience, from any perspective, of the Great War. Enthusiastic illustrators to worked with UCLan Publishing to produce a World War One fact-book for children aged 9-12. The book commemorated the 100th anniversary of World War One this year and aims to educate children on the events of the war in a fun way.

From fantasy to realism, fairy tale to memoir, time-slip to tragedy, authors and illustrators had complete freedom in terms of genre, style and themes to tell the stories of World War One.


Accrington Pals

19-22 February 2014

The Accrington Pals by Peter Whelan, directed by Helen Tolson and performed by BA (Hons) Acting Year 3 students. Set during the First World War, Accrington Pals follows the story of the women of Accrington as their lives are altered forever by the First World War. Named after the groups of men or ‘pals’ who were encouraged to sign up together to fight for King and Country, the play moves between Accrington and the lives of the women as they struggle to cope without the men and the Frontline in France, where the men are sent into battle. This year marks 100 years since the outbreak of the so called ‘War to end all Wars’ and 1916 will mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, where on the first day of the battle alone, over 90% of the ‘Accrington Pals’ were either killed or wounded in battle.

WW1 Flower

Finding Identities: Lancashire and the First World War

23-24 November 2013

On the eve of the centenary of the First World War interest in the conflict has grown - as have debates over local identities, recruitment, the war effort, memorialisation, and the historical sources. As home to many Pals battalions, and a focus of Lord Derby's recruitment efforts, Lancashire is arguably at the heart of these matters. Moreover as the result of the successful Preston City Council bid to refurbish the town memorial, and extensive new research into rarely seen film, new and fascinating evidence of the war and its impact is now coming to light. The Finding Identities conference was attended by 90 people including academic researchers, professionals in the heritage and educational sectors and the interested amateur. The conference included keynote speakers, and opportunities to visit the Harris Museum and the newly restored Preston Cenotaph; the recently opened First World War gallery in the Museum of Lancashire and the Lancashire Infantry Museum at Fulwood Barracks.

Preston Cenotaph