First Garden City Heritage Museum celebrates Letchworth locals in World War Two display

By Richard Moss | 01 September 2010
A black and white photo of Home Guard soldiers using Lewis guns in an anti aircraft role
The Letchworth Home Guard use Lewis guns during an anti-aircraft drill © First Garden City Heritage Museum
Exhibition: Letchworth Garden City in World War Two, The First Garden City Heritage Museum, Letchworth, until March 19 2011

As UK museums focus on the 70th anniversary of 1940 – a year that witnessed the Dunkirk evacuation, the Battle of Britain and the beginning of the Blitz – an exhibition at The First Garden City Heritage Museum in Letchworth is exploring the contribution locals made to the war effort.

Centring on the Museum’s fascinating photographic archive and home front objects, the exhibition features audiovisual presentations exploring life during wartime in the town and a full reconstruction of a 1940s living room – complete with its Morrison Shelter consisting of a reinforced table with a wire cage beneath it. 

a photo of a woman and man next to a large bomb with a label attached to it which reads: To Adolf from Us.
World War Two residents of Letchworth prepare a special present for Adolf Hitler © First Garden City Heritage Museum
Curators are also asking the public to contribute through Your War, a project to collect and display the stories of Letchworthians during the war, celebrating visitors’ own experiences and memories.

Like all towns and cities in Britain touched by the war, Letchworth's story of its citizens includes many tales of service and sacrifice.

Local people took on a variety of roles, ranging from overseas service with HM Forces to working in factories and light industry – including the Letchworth Parachute Factory and the K & L Steel Foundry, which was a target for German bombers.

Other essential activities ranged from local fund raising and code breaking at Bletchley Park to the accommodation of refugees and evacuees. All of these actions helped win the war.
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