Little museum’s exhibition is up for national award

Pictures of the 41 who died from Hallaton during the Great War.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Pictures of the 41 who died from Hallaton during the Great War. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

An exhibition in a little village museum in the Harborough district has been shortlisted in the prestigious national Heritage and Media Awards 2017.

The shortlisted Harborough exhibition is called Hallaton in the Great War – Tales of the Unexpected, mounted last year in Hallaton’s small Tin Tab Museum by the Hallaton in the Great War Research Group.

Other names on the list include Oxford University Museums and Library Service and the National Trust at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

The exhibition, which cost under £7,000 to put on, has been nominated in the “Project on a Limited Budget’’ category.

The Museum’s Denis Kenyon told the Mail: “I’m chuffed to bits for the team and extremely excited.”

Hallaton will find out whether it has won a major award on May 17.

The exhibition was dramatic even from the outside.

An exhibition visitor approaching the village’s Churchgate was confronted by 41 portrait boards mounted behind the churchyard wall, dedicated to village men who had died in World War One.

The entrance was guarded by a sentry – a full size photograph of Corporal Dick Neale.

It was heavily sand-bagged to re-create a trench complete with fire-step and dug out; 550 sandbags and 10 tonnes of pea gravel were used.

Inside the small museum - about 12 metres by five - 14 large boards gave a snapshot of Hallaton before, during and after the Great War and told of key events at different theatres of the war by using the stories of some of Hallaton’s heroes and heroines.

The subjects covered ranged from a Hallaton man’s charge on horseback against German machine guns to the strange tale of a submariner in the ill-fated E24.

To give additional authenticity, there was a recruiting sergeant ready to sign up any unwary visitor; a badly wounded soldier on a stretcher and weaponry including a Vicker’s machine gun.

One further memorable feature was the film of present-day Hallaton Primary School children reciting letters received from Hallaton lads at the Front.

The group is now working on the biographies of the 221 men and women associated with Hallaton who served in the war. A two-volume book - called Hallaton in the Great War: Service and Sacrifice - should be completed by November 11, 2018.

Anyone interested in a copy at the subsidised price of £28 should contact Denis Kenyon on 07834 324352 or denis.kenyon36@gmail.com

The Museum Committee is this year mounting its own exhibition “Self-sufficiency: Do or Die”, opening on April 22 and on weekends and Bank Holidays, from 2.30pm – 5pm.