Historian to look at effect of bombardment of Hartlepool on the home front

A historian will focus on the experiences of Hartlepool during and after the bombardment of 1914 at an upcoming event.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 4:45 pm
Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens.
Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens.

Dr Michael Reeve will talk about his recent research into naval and aerial bombardment on the North East coast when he gives a talk at the Headland’s Heugh Battery Museum.

Entitled Making Sense of Bombardment in the Hartlepools 1914-1918, it will include details of local forms of early civil defence, when towns along coast became heavily militarised and also look at fundraising efforts for the victims of bombardment, both during and after the war.

Hartlepool raised the most per head of anywhere in the United Kingdom between 1914 and 1919 – the equivalent of £545 million in today’s currency.

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The scene at York Road in Hartlepool in the aftermath of the Bombardment in 1914. Photograph courtesy of Hartlepool Borough Council.

Diane Stephens, manager of the Heugh Battery Museum which led the defence of the town during the German shelling, said: “Though the story of the bombardment is well-known locally, it is very rarely included in national narratives of the war on the home front.

“This talk will attempt to demonstrate the importance of 16 December 1914 in the history of the First World War more generally, as a way for civilians to make sense of their role in the war and account for their sacrifices.”

Dr Reeve received his doctorate in history from the University of Hull in June this year.

He now works as an academic skills tutor and lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and with the educational charity Infused Learning.

The Baptist Chapel in Hartlepool after the bombardment.

Dr Reeve is currently working with Heugh Battery Museum in Moor Terrace to create new museum interpretation about the bombardment.

The talk takes place on Sunday, December 15, the eve of the anniversary of the bombardment which will once again be marked in Redheugh Gardens.

It is on from 2pm-3.30pm and costs £2 per person.

People can book at the museum or get tickets on the door although places are limited so booking is recommended.

A scene of sheer destruction as Hartlepool surveys the damage of the Bombardment.

Call (01429) 270746 or email: [email protected]

After this weekend the museum will be closed for the winter and reopen at the beginning of February.

Its opening hours are 10am until 4pm Saturday and Sunday.