A poignant new free exhibition, Last Post: Remembering the First World War, will explore the effect of the events of 1914-18 on the Post Office, its people and the contribution of postal communications to the war effort.
It will be on display at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, adjacent to Enginuity in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire from Thursday 10th April 2014 until Friday 27th March 2015.
Before 1914 Post Office communications were vital to everyday life through the telegraph, telephone and postal systems. At the outbreak of war, the Post Office, as one of the biggest businesses in the world, contributed to military operations on a scale never seen before, providing a vital means of communication between the fighting fronts and the home front. Tens of thousands of Post Office workers fought in the war and over 8,500 were killed.
Curated by the British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) in partnership with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the exhibition will showcase objects of military and postal importance and include stories from a Shropshire perspective.
The exhibition encompasses a variety of themes that bring to life the importance of human contact and communication during a time of great suffering and uncertainty. The themes will include communications both at home and on the frontline and the working lives of people involved in the postal service during the war, including those of women on War Work.
Dr Matt Thompson, Senior Curator of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented, “The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is proud to be able to commemorate the often forgotten role that the Post Office played during the First World War and is grateful to the BPMA and other partners for their hard work in putting this excellent exhibition together”.
“The First World War Centenary is an opportunity to reflect on the impact that this cataclysmic conflict had upon everyone, not just those fighting on the Front Line”, said Dr Adrian Steel, Director BPMA. “Few organisations had a greater role to play, or a greater impact, over the five years of hostilities than the British postal service. It has been a pleasure as always to work with our friends at Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust to bring this significant exhibition and its often-hidden stories to the people of Shropshire and the wider public.”
A nationwide touring exhibition of Last Post: Remembering the First World War will run in parallel to the exhibition at Coalbrookdale.
Last Post: Remembering the First World War, will be open Monday to Friday from 10am until 5pm at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, entry is free. For further information contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).