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 http://www.tramway.co.uk/contact/make-a-donation/ and select ‘WW1 legacy Sculpture’ or contact Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org