World War I: A Walk of Remembrance
Relive World War I in Whitehall and meet the politicians who ran the show – close to each other and far from the front. Be there where men blocked the streets answering their call to enlist. Remember those amongst them and in the conscripted armies who died then understand how one unknown warrior could mean so much to so many. Get behind the public personas to encounter the intelligence chief with a bathtub in his office, and a Foreign Secretary with a passion for birdsong. But also feel the difference war brought to the place – parks as offices, The Mall as munitions museum, and a square where calls for peace were silenced as it too was commandeered for war service. Come to rest at a cenotaph which explains why a war started in euphoria ended not in victory celebration but in sober reflection. This walk will give you a unique insight into Britain’s centre of power where a Great War became a World War.
The Home Front: City Life in the Great War
With City trading closed, walk a different City, a City at war. Start on the steps where war was proclaimed in August 1914 and end where the nation gave thanks when it was all over in November 1918. In between, feel the impact – from the stockbrokers queuing to sign up, to the Zeppelin captains who made the City a special target. Would a spy command your respect for his courage at trial? Would you have cared if shopkeepers of German origin were interned and – in the case of one of the City’s greatest philanthropists – sent into exile? Experience the power of the barons controlling a popular press that unseated a prime minister, while a young woman was so desperate for a break in Fleet Street she disguised herself as a soldier on the front line. You won’t get a better chance to understand the City and its context in the greatest conflict the world had ever known.
Remembering the Somme
At 7.30am on the morning of 1st July 1916, whistles blew and tens of thousands of British troops on the Somme left their trenches and walked slowly into the bloodiest day in the history of the British army. This walk takes to the streets of central London which Zeppelins bombed, where decision makers met, and Civil Service Rifles mustered before heading for the front. It poses awkward questions. Were the media reports of the battle prepared beforehand? Was a nurse’s execution used unethically to boost recruitment? Was the prime minister’s mind on his weekend in the country during the battle planning in Downing St? And as the truth about the catastrophe trickled out in the procession of ambulances that met the hospital trains, the walk explores how a nation’s attitude changed towards those who waged the war and to warfare itself.