Rushden Museum brings First World War to life

Sarah Peacock in the recreation of a First World War trench
Sarah Peacock in the recreation of a First World War trench

History will come to life with a First World War trench re-created to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war.

Rushden Museum has opened its doors to the public for its 2014 season with an exhibition in recognition of 100 years since the start of the Great War.

As part of the display, a trench has been created for visitors to go back in time and experience what life was like in the trenches through sight, sound and smell.

Museum committee member Sarah Peacock, who is also a Rushden councillor, said: “We have changed the format for the exhibition this year, we have done our take on a First World War trench from pictures and things that we have seen and other mock-ups.

“It’s all inside and under cover, and it’s got sound effects with guns going off.

“It’s suitable for all ages and has been made for us by a local group, who do stage sets.”

The project has taken nearly three months to complete, with various materials 
used to create the trench, including timber, cardboard and plastic.

Artwork by Clive Wood has also been incorporated and local firms have donated material to create ‘squidgy’ flooring to give the feel of mud below your feet.

Sandbags have been made for the trench scene, which also has lighting effects and smells to help people get a feel for what it would have been like back in 1914.

Cllr Peacock said: “It is really brilliant and the response from people so far has been really good.”

Hours of painstaking research has been carried out by committee members using old editions of the Evening Telegraph to find out how the war affected life back in Rushden, including those who went to fight and those who never returned.

There are also references to the social side of war, how life went on in Rushden during 1914 from local businesses in High Street to different social clubs within the town.

Also on display at the museum, which is in the grounds of Hall Park, are artefacts which have been loaned or donated.

However, the organisers would love to find a uniform from the war to add to their exhibition, which is free entry.