National Lottery support confirmed for Crich First World War Memorial sculptures

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England have confirmed support for a lasting legacy to the tramway men, women and their families whose lives were lost or changed by the Great War in the form of a series of contemporary sculptures at the National Tramway Museum in Crich. These will be designed by artistic duo Musson&Retallick, winners in the 2017 International Civic Trust Awards for the Somme Memorial Artwork in Barnsley.

Arts Council England will provide £15,000 in funding with £7,600 coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Musson&Retallick will use the archives and community engagement to inspire the final artwork, which will consist of groups of abstract steel figures, standing in different locations around Crich Tramway Village. Each group of figures will represent a different story, for example, soldiers huddled in the trenches, families awaiting the return of their loved ones, women working together to keep the trams running or people waiting for a tram to take them to recruit.

Designs for the sculptures will be developed through a series of creative workshops with visitors, local schools, community groups and museum volunteers. It is planned that these workshops will not only take place at Crich Tramway Village but also at Sharpe’s Pottery Museum, Swadlincote, Nottingham Contemporary and the National Justice Museum, Nottingham.

This project is aiming to provide recognition and commemoration to the many men and women from the UK’s tramways who were involved in the war effort. The tramway industry was also host to significant social change with female tram workers becoming very visible in positions of authority, yet it was still a decade before emancipation.

Dr Mike Galer, General Manager at Crich Tramway Village, said: “This is a great opportunity for us tell the stories of individuals who worked for the tramways and offer something very different to our visitors. We are really excited to be working with Neil Musson and Jono Retallick on this project and we’re looking forward to working with new partners all over the region.’

Further funding is required for the project and anyone interested in assisting can either visit and select ‘WW1 legacy Sculpture’ or contact

This entry was posted in Crich Tramway Village. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to National Lottery support confirmed for Crich First World War Memorial sculptures

  1. Franklyn says:

    What a terrible idea! How the hell are ‘conemporary’ and ‘abstract’ designs around the museum premises supposed to fit in with the Victorian street scene????

    The Crich preople would do well to refer back to the mission statement put inplace by their predecessors and get back to the basics of tramcar preservation and restoration, rather than continuing down the slippery slope of becoming a poor-man’s theme park!

    • Steve Hyde says:

      There is considerably more to tramway history than tramcars themselves. The museum records all aspects of tramway history and the recognition of the contribution to the war effort made by members of the tramway community is just as important as the trams.
      For the museum to survive it must aim to cater for a wide public audience and not just pander to the enthusiast fraternity. The main bulk of paying visitors will want more to see and do than a few carefully restored trams to ride. It is those visitors who in effect subsidise the operation and maintenance of the trams that the enthusiast enjoys.

      • Colin Smith says:

        As the nephew of a tramways employee from Manchester who gave his life in WW1, I have to agree and say any permanent memorial to the many thousands who gave their lives in this war is very welcome. I never knew my uncle but maybe his love of trams has rubbed off on me, I like to think so anyway. Yes, I would prefer say a National Roll of Honour. But who are we to judge, without seeing for ourselves, that “contemporary and abstract designs” cannot be made to fit the surroundings?

    • Al says:

      I have to admit that, for once I agree with Franklyn…

  2. Andy B says:

    Gents and Franklyn,
    Before you get wound up about sculptures at the museum do you know where they are going and what exactly they will look like?
    In the near future the artists will be talking to staff, volunteers and members of the public before placing anything they have created for us to see and what their designs are. It is best to wait to see what happens before criticising without knowing the full details

  3. Christopher Callan says:

    Perhaps i really am coming down with something as someone joked at the Fylde Tramway Society AGM Buffet where also defended them (that time regarding 298 & 631) but honestly cannot understand how anyone can object to money been spent on this. Seems entirely sensible (from commercial perspective to extend offering and educational remit) whilst actually doing something quite nice from commemorative perspective. Should be applauding stuff like this surely.

  4. Franklyn says:

    I have no problem with a tramway-mans memorial. It’s a good idea. But is should be in a public place somewhere, not in a museum and certainly not in what is supposed to be a vintage street scene, especially if it’s so a modern design. Wouldn’t it be more fitting in the centre of somewhere like London, Sheffield or any of the other blitzed cities where brave tramway personnel did actually lose their lives?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      But surely the National Tramway Museum is a highly appropriate venue for it? Also its acknowledgement that there is more to the history of trams than the trams themselves… the social history aspect is also massively important, and this is a nice way to show that and honour people as well. I’m not sure if the design will be the best but will keep an open mind about it because the idea, in my opinion, is a good one.

  5. Micky says:

    What worries me is the contemporary part. It will be a hideous monstrosity. Why can’t it be a traditional style war memorial? that would be perfectly in keeping. Tramwayy personnel were remembered on memorials of a traditional style – they weren’t remembered on a piece of glittery plastic – this should represent and be styled on what actually was, not an inrterpretation dreamed up by someone in an office with an ‘art’ degree.

  6. Paul D says:

    The principle of a memorial for tramway-men who served in the war being located at the National Tramway Museum is a laudable project I think we should all support.
    The concerns expressed are I think more about the design of the memorial and how it will fit into the period street scene. We don’t yet know what the final design will be so we can’t properly and fairly judge yet (though words such as “abstract” and “contemporary” do understandably ring alarm bells) so I will reserve judgement until we see the actual design…

Comments are closed.