Heritage – ‘War Comes Home’

As our centenary approaches (2024) we’ve started reminiscing about what we’ve been up to over the last 98 years and counting. We’ve been looking back through our archives and found the following:

War Comes Home was a heritage project that focused on discovering and celebrating life in Battersea during World War II and the lives of the civilian men, women and children who perished in the bombing, as well as raising awareness for Battersea’s own Grade II listed memorial to those civilians in Christchurch Gardens. It was led by Sue Demont, Geraldine Kelly, Carol Rahn and Jenny Sheridan. KLS members and staff were involved and interviewed in this excellent project in 2018/19.

There were four parts of the project building on the stories of what it was like to live during World War II and sharing them with the wider, multi-generational community, these included;

  • The “Bombing of Battersea” event, featuring recorded interviews with men and women recounting their childhood experiences in wartime Battersea and narration by Carol Rahn, editor of the films. First offered as part of Wandsworth Heritage Festival in 2018, the event has been repeated several times and covers topics ranging from the terrors and fascination of bombardment, evacuation and disrupted schooling, to the astonishing independence of that generation.
  • “The Bombing of Battersea” booklet written by Sue Demont, which has sold more than 500 copies and preserves eyewitness accounts, linking them to the facts about wartime events.
  • An online library of these films and a trailer by the War Comes Home committee for the entire project. Watch the films HERE.
  • A youth theatre performance through Omnibus Theatre and the support of War Comes Home committee member Jenny Sheridan. In total, each of three age groups gave voice to the words of the oral history participants. Altogether 43 children took part aged between 5 and 16; all had been immersed in the War Comes Home material for over six months, including intensive discussion periods for the older children with interviewees.

Carol Rahn, War Comes Home Committee, said: “We have captured unforgettable stories from those who lived through one of the most dramatic periods of British history and the enthusiastic response of so many different audiences has been gratifying. We are proud that the project leaves a permanent legacy.”

The project has also laid the foundations for the Friends of Christchurch Gardens which is now – becoming an established Friends Group in the borough, with particular thanks to Geraldine Kelly. Situated within Christchurch Gardens is a Grade II listed memorial and plaque to mark the civilians who lost their lives during the war.

Find out more

An introductory film about War Comes Home is a good place to start.

Several videos with eyewitnesses stories are available at Videos in “War Comes Home” on Vimeo and on their Facebook group page: facebook.com/WarComesHome.

A booklet called The Bombing of Battersea is available.

The War Comes Home committee has continued to work with local schools to bring part of this material into the World War II curriculum. To find out more email [email protected]

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