Postcards of Hartlepool mark the Bombardment of Hartlepool

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VISITING London this summer for your holidays?

Then why not take in a little bit of Hartlepool’s past from the most momentous day in the town’s modern history?

A series of antique postcards produced to mark the Bombardment of Hartlepool on December 16, 1914, will be on display in a new exhibition at the capital’s Imperial War Museum (IWM) when it reopens tomorrow.

The museum, which has been closed for six months while undergoing a £35m refit, marks the impending centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with a permanent display dedicated to the conflict.

Postcards illustrating the carnage suffered by Hartlepool and the size of the shells unleashed by the German Navy are expected to be seen by millions of visitors.

Up to 123 people were killed as a result of the onslaught on the town shortly after 8am.

The exact figure varies because many of the 200 people wounded in the shelling by three warships never recovered from their injuries.

The postcards on display are based on well-known photographs of the attack.

They show soldiers standing next to unexploded shells and the devastation suffered by properties in the Sussex Street and Central Estate areas of the town. The IWM, which opened in 1920 following the end of the Great War in 1918, reopens tomorrow in time for the school summer holidays and the August centenary of hostilities beginning.

If you cannot make it to London then Hartlepool will be hosting its own bombardment tribute from September.

The Voices of the Bombardment exhibition takes place at the Museum of Hartlepool, in Maritime Avenue, from Saturday, September 20, until March next year.

On display will be the town’s own collection of photographs with other attractions likely to include press cuttings, clothing and weapons from the day.

n Entry to the IWM is free and the museum is open from 10am-6pm.

Last admission is at 5.30pm.

It is in Lambeth Road with the nearest tube station, Lambeth North on the Bakerloo line, around 10 minutes walk away.

Further information is available by contactin the museum on (0207) 4165000.