Propeace Chesterfield has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund through their First World War: then and now programme. The money will fund an exciting local project called Courage of Conscience which will discover and celebrate the stories of Derbyshire conscientious objectors, other resisters to the war, and their families.
Local and national research is the first phase of the project. So the group would be delighted to hear from local people about their stories of resistance to World War 1.
The Courage of Conscience project kicks off with two public meetings about local stories of resistance to the war and how everyone can help to find out more to contribute to the archives. The first will be at Chesterfield Labour Club on Saturday 29 November 2014, at 7pm, when Ben Copsey, Project Officer at the Peace Pledge Union, will talk about George Benson and others imprisoned for their stand, whose stories are held in the records of the Peace Pledge Union. Everyone is welcome to attend. See listings and advert for more information.
And at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 17 January 2015 at Chesterfield Library Cyril Pearce, retired lecturer from Leeds University and authority on First World War conscientious objectors, will speak about his extensive research and how to explore local resources for more information. He is the author of “Comrades in Conscience” and has compiled a database of Conscientious Objectors, which he will explain.
Using the research, River Wolton, a former Derbyshire poet laureate will work with young writers in Derbyshire to create their own responses.If you are between 16 and 30 and this interests you please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gertie Whitfield from Whitworks will also be creating history and drama materials based on the real experiences for use in classrooms in local schools. Finally the information will be available through a new Courage of Conscience website, the Propeace website, and the Derbyshire Record Office „ Derbyshire Lives in the First World War‟ website.
Sue Owen from PropeaceChesterfield said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for our Courage of Conscience project. We hope to raise awareness about the brave men and women who went against the national tide of opinion and enormous government and public pressure, and remained true to their principles by opposing the war and refusing to take up arms. We are really keen to hear from anyone who has any information about the conscientious objectors in Derbyshire, or would like to do research or be involved in the project in any way, so please get in touch with us.”