Wanted – your WW1 memorabilia and stories!


11-Sep-2014 14:33

London Mozart Players call on local people to help tell the story of Croydon in the Great War

A prismatic army compass in full working order and sheet music of war-time songs have been discovered in response to an appeal for World War I memorabilia.

Having passed down the generations of two local families, the items were brought to an ‘antiques roadshow’ style event at Fairfield Halls on Tuesday. The event was organised by the London Mozart Players in partnership with the Museum of Croydon to help gather artefacts for a forthcoming exhibition.

The ‘Hidden Croydon’ exhibition is part of an exciting series of arts, heritage and educational activities and events devised by the London Mozart Players to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in Croydon. The centrepiece will be the première of a new choral work by Jonathan Dove on Friday 14 November, involving choirs from local schools and Croydon Minster, local bands and young musicians playing alongside the orchestra.

Students from Riddlesdown Collegiate will curate the exhibition using items brought in by local people to tell the story of Croydon at this defining moment in world history.

“The compass belonged to my father-in-law, Captain Frederic Alfred Clemo,” said Joseph Ward. “He was in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry during the First World War and saw action in France and later Salonika (today called Thessalonika). Remarkably he survived the war and returned to London to a career in teaching. He was injured during the Second World War but in a cycling accident in the Black Out – it was so dark without street-lighting that he didn’t see the other bike!”

A selection of war-time sheet music was brought in by Peter Skinner. “The music belonged to my grandmother Jessie May Wormald who lived in Widehurst Road in Addiscombe. She was part of a huge family and was very musical. I remember her playing the piano and singing when I was growing up. Some of the songs and lyrics are quite patriotic and rousing. I suppose it was all about keeping up the spirits.”

There will be another roadshow style event at Fairfield Halls next Friday 10.30am-12.30pm and local people are encouraged to search their attics and bring along more of their WW1 memorabilia.

All items selected for display will be exhibited securely at the Fairfield Halls on the day of the concert. Those who contribute to the exhibition will be offered discounted tickets for the concert, and receive a credit in the concert souvenir programme.

“It’s been so interesting to see what people have shared with us so far,“ said Sarah Butcher from the London Mozart Players. “There’s bound to be many more hidden treasures - letters, postcards, medals, photographs and uniforms - and we welcome as many local people as possible to be part of our exhibition.”

Hidden Croydon details:

 Friday 19 September

10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Fairfield Halls foyer, Croydon

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