Friday, 22 December 2017

Fighting for Air Volunteer Visit to the Local Studies / Museum of Croydon

In the last post, I detailed how six of us had a busy day last Tuesday as we visited the First World War (FWW) galleries at the Imperial War Museum, London; then went to see archival material at the Museum of Croydon. This time, I’ll write up some notes from the Museum of Croydon. . .

Lindsay Ould, Borough Archivist, and Emily Lansell, Collections Officer, had got out a selection of archive material for us to look at. Lindsay gave us an overview of what they do have, such as the reports kept by Constables, the council proceedings, and a Roll of Honour of all the people killed during the war who were associated with Croydon.

A glimpse of what it was like living in Croydon during the war could be seen in letters written by a vicar to his brother in the Shetlands – the Shetland archives have the letters from the brother about the Shetlands during the war. A catalogue of war supplies and advertisements for items that could be sent abroad was fascinating. There was a book of all the special fund-raising days organised by the Mayoress of Croydon and the meeting minutes.

Notice of public Meeting calling for reprisals and protection
from the Zeppelin raids
The interest in souvenirs and postcards was reflected in the number produced to fundraise for the five hospitals in the borough, including Stanford Road War Hospital, which specialised in facial injuries. Surprisingly the archive is rich in sources about conscientious objectors as it has two large collections linked to a family who were imprisoned during the war.

There was very little on the aerodrome itself but an interesting file on the Zeppelin raids of October 1915, which included a call for reprisals a week later at a meeting in Croydon on 22 October. Norman and Nick are going to look into this file and some of the documents relating to air defences further.

The Museum of Croydon are marking the centenary through some new schools’ resources on the Zeppelin raids and conscientious objectors as well as tweeting the names of those that died on their anniversary as recorded in the Roll of Honour. In doing these they are also researching those men and women and correcting any factual errors as well as finding out new information along the way.



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