Centenary commemoration marking start of the First World War to be held on 4 August

[Picture Caption] First World War medal and prayer book, moving excerpts marked with petals. ©Leeds Museums & Galleries, photography by Sara Porter.

An act of remembrance and reflection will take place at Victoria Gardens next week, forming part of a programme of events in Leeds marking the beginning of the First World War one hundred years ago.

Held on 4 August 2014, members of the public are invited from 10.45pm to 11.15 pm to gather at Victoria Gardens to remember and reflect on the moment when the declaration of war was signed in 1914. There will be readings, a short item of music and the illumination and then dimming of the First World War Light specially created by the Leeds Lights Team which is part of the national initiative LIGHTS OUT. As part of the LIGHTS OUT campaign, people are being invited to leave on or turn off a single light or candle between 10pm and 11pm. The inspiration for this initiative is taken from the famous statement by the foreign secretary of the time Sir Edward Gray who said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our life time.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

“The legacy of the First World War had a profound effect in so many different ways, and it is only right that here in Leeds we pay our own tributes to the sacrifices of those people who served their country at home and abroad.

“With partners we have put together a programme of activities, events and exhibitions that over the four years of the Commemoration we  hope will offer a compelling insight into the very real impact the war had not on just on an international and national level, but also in Leeds and on its people.

“This will include the council marking the moment on Monday 4 August when war was declared in 1914, with a special act of reflection and remembrance held in Victoria Gardens, which will feature readings and the illumination of the First World War Light which is part of the national LIGHTS OUT initiative.”

Earlier in the day, Leeds City Council’s Museums and Libraries will also be opening two exhibitions on the 4 August to mark the event.

Held at Leeds City Museum, the ‘But Not Forgotten’ display will offer a poignant and reflective insight into the First World War through letters, photographs and objects in museums and galleries collections. Working with writer Mary Cooper and photographer Ian Glover, this exhibition will explore imagined attitudes to war from perspectives at both home and abroad.

An exhibition featuring images of Leeds during the First World War is also set to open at Leeds Central Library. Aspects of Leeds during the Great War will offer range of interesting information, including material from the munitions factory at Barnbow, the National Ordnance factories and the Leeds Flag Day Committees. Central to the exhibition will be the culmination of an Arts Council funded project centred on a scrapbook compiled by the Matron of Gledhow Hall hospital during the war.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

“A key aim of our commemoration programme is to really engage with people of all ages and generations in our communities on the many facets of the First World War both at home and abroad.

“Some aspects of the conflict are more well-known than others, and this is a chance through our work to highlight a range of areas that despite having a lower profile were just as vital.

“On 4 August, as part of the centenary commemorations remembering the beginning of the First World War, we will be through our museum and libraries launching two exhibitions that promise to be not only interesting, but also very poignant.”

Notes to editors:

For more information regarding the LIGHTS OUT campaign, please see: http://www.1418now.org.uk/lights-out/

Involved in the council’s individual programme are Leeds Museums and Galleries, who will be leading on exhibitions and events, and the library and information service covering a range of themes. These include hospitals, industries, the armed forces, literature, war and peace, the warfront, the role of women, the home front and how the war affected young people and their families. These teams will be joined in the planning by children’s services, arts development and the art team. The council has also being working closely with the University of Leeds through its Legacies of War programme featuring major research projects, is examining a range of historical, cultural and social legacies.

For more information on the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, please see the Imperial War Museums website at: http://www.1914.org/ or the University of Leeds: www.arts.leeds.ac.uk/legaciesofwar

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds Minster:

Poetry by Leeds born and legendary Padre "Woodbine Willie" (Father Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy) with music of the period sung by Anita Wiencelewski and Quentin Brown will underpin a Candlelit Vigil at Leeds Minster from 10 – 11 pm, led by Rector of Leeds, Canon Tony Bundock.

For more information please contact;  simon@simonlindley.org.uk