A number of special commemoration events are being held in Watford to mark the centenary of World War One. Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, said: “One hundred years on from the start of the First World War, we are all connected either through our own family history, the heritage of our local community or because of its long-term impact on the world we live in today. Here in Watford we are marking the centenary in a number of ways including a special Service of Commemoration. Everyone is invited to take part.”
- On Sunday August 3, a special commemoration service will take place at St Mary’s Church, Church Street (off the High Street). A civic procession will commence at 10.15am, with the public service at the church starting at 10.30am. There will be readings by Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill; Richard Harrington MP; and Councillor George Derbyshire, Chairman of Watford Borough Council. They will be joined by organisations associated with the armed forces. The Service will end at noon.
- On Monday August 4 between 10pm and 11pm, every member of every community in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT to mark the hour that Britain entered the First World War, one hundred years ago. The public can take part in whatever way they choose: by turning off their lights and having a moment of reflection at home; or by attending one of the many events being organised across the UK. In Watford, everyone is welcome to attend church services at St Mary’s Church and at Christ Church, St Albans Road. Alternatively people can gather for a secular vigil at the Peace Memorial, by the Town Hall at The Parade, between 10pm and 11pm. LIGHTS OUT is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official cultural programme for the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. Visit the 14-18 NOW website for details about LIGHTS OUT.
- Watford Museum will also be hosting a new exhibition, ‘The Great War: Watford 1914’, from Thursday August 7 to September 27, as well as working on an online roll of honour. Museum volunteers are cross referencing newspapers from the period with the roll of honour in order to provide some background to those listed using obituaries. We were awarded a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards this project.
- Part of the funding is also going towards a series of WW1 workshops for schools, to engage a younger generation in their local history and to highlight the importance of remembering WW1. On Saturday November 15, from 1pm to 2pm, a special workshop is being held at Watford Museum for seven to 12 year olds. Decorate your very own Christmas tin and find out the story of Princess Mary’s special WW1 gift! This workshop is free but booking is essential.
- On Saturday September 27 at 1pm, Watford Museum will be hosting a ‘World War One sing-a-long’ day with Watford Folk Club. Come and sing along to WW1 classics and enjoy a good cup of tea and cake at the Little Gallery Tearoom at the Museum. All ages welcome, free entry.