A clean sweep:  Lofthouse Park’s Forgotten History

A clean sweep: Lofthouse Park’s Forgotten History

Community event explores why time stood still for over 1,000 Germans and Austrians in a Yorkshire village during the First World War

Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (© IWM Q56595)
Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (© IWM Q56595)

People from South Leeds, Rothwell, Lofthouse, Outwood and Wakefield are invited to discover what went on in the now vanished Lofthouse Park between 1900 and 1919. Historical documents and a guided neighbourhood walk will reveal why and how the park was turned from an aerodrome and place of popular entertainment to an internment and prisoner-of-war camp for German and Austrian civilians and officers in World War One.

Visitors to the event will be given the opportunity to find out about ‘enemy aliens’, individual internees, life in the camp and the odd escape, based on ongoing research of In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time, a Centre for Hidden Histories funded project that brings together historians, descendants, residents, students and pupils from Britain and Germany.

The camp itself is not the only focus of the day, as project leader Claudia Sternberg (Legacies of War, University of Leeds) explains:

‘We will bring to life the experiences of Lofthouse Park Camp, but would like to know much more about the local communities at the time, whether they had dealings with the camp or not.

‘This Heritage Open Day is an opportunity for anyone to come and share knowledge, stories and documents relating to the local area in the first two decades of the 20th century. Perhaps people living around Park Avenue, Park Square and Park View or working for Peter Duffy Ltd. have even found objects that could be dated back to the time of the camp.’

Charity exhibition and bazar held at Lofthouse Park Camp in 1915 (State Library Berlin PPN746445490)
Charity exhibition and bazar held at Lofthouse Park Camp in 1915 (State Library Berlin PPN746445490)

The event is free and open to all. It will take place on Sunday, 11 September 2016, at Lofthouse Gate Working Men’s Club (12 Canal Lane, Lofthouse, Wakefield, WF3 3HN), from 11-16.00.

In addition to looking at documents on display and going on a walk led by independent historian David Stowe (11.30 and 14.00), visitors can try their hand at reconstructing Lofthouse Park Camp in a mapping workshop at 12.00. A short creative presentation by Heritage Corner’s Joe Williams and Leah Francis at 15.00 puts Lofthouse Park Camp in the wider context of civilian internment during the First World War, which affected tens of thousands of families in Britain, Germany and beyond.

The venue and guided walks are child-friendly and fully accessible. Pre-booking is only required for groups, but signing up for the walk on the day is appreciated. Children’s activities are offered throughout the day and refreshments are available.

For more information, please contact c.sternberg@leeds.ac.uk or dave-stowe@live.co.uk


Impact: Dr Ben Braber’s outreach to the Trent Academies Group

BenBraberandStudentsContinuing the Centre for Hidden Histories engagement with World War One history in UK schools, Dr Ben Braber has run a number of sessions for students from the Trent Academies Group (Rushcliffe School, The Farnborough Academy and Arnold Hill Academy).  In July, 30 year nine students and 10 year ten and eleven students attended history workshops led by Ben and conducted in partnership with Nottingham Central Library and Nottinghamshire Archives.  The workshops were convened to analyse primary sources associated with Ben’s Centre for Hidden Histories project, German immigrants in Nottingham during the First World War.

Click on the link to read a student account of the project in Rushcliffe School’s Newsletter.

For further information, see Dr Ben Braber’s website.

Funding Call: Research Development Fund 2017

The Centre for Hidden Histories is proud to announce a call for funding for community co-production projects that would begin in early 2017 and be complete by 31 December 2017.

As one of the five AHRC First World War Engagement Centres, the CHH can provide funding to support academic members of its research network working with community partners to develop projects related to the centenary of the First World War.

Grants will normally be for no more than £15,000. There will be no more than seven or eight awards made.


Applications must be led by and submitted by a university-based academic; non-academic groups may not submit applications independently.

To qualify for funding, projects should involve substantial engagement in research activities which require a significant input of time and/or other research resources. The Centre is looking to fund high-quality research activities and outputs co-produced by academic researchers and their community partner(s). Proposals that link several of communities, community groups or cultural partnerships will also be welcomed.

Priority in this additional call will be given to projects that diversify engagement in centenary activities, including, for example, engagement with minority or marginalised groups in society, including BAME, and/or projects that seek to uncover hidden narratives or that strengthen the coverage of under-represented or hidden narratives or unheard/disregarded voices relating to the centenary.

Details of the engagement centres can be found here, and information about research network membership can be found on individual centre websites.

Projects must be led by members of the academic research network but must also address needs or opportunities identified and agreed with the community partner(s) and must provide evidence of the support of those partner(s).There is no requirement under this additional call for projects to build on existing HLF projects although connections with HLF projects will be welcomed.

Advice for academic researchers on public engagement activity can be found on National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s website. The articles on co-inquiry and engaging the public as researchers may be particularly helpful in developing applications:


  • Call announced: 1st August 2016
  • Application deadline: midday on 3rd October
  • Decisions made: 1st November
  • Projects notified: 16th November
  • Projects begin in 2017 to be completed by 31st December 2017


Funding can only be held by eligible UK based Research Organisations. In practice this means awards can only be held by Universities, or by a small number of organisations recognised by the AHRC as Independent Research Organisations (IROs), such as museums and galleries. Community partners cannot apply independently in their own right for Research Council Funding, or be paid directly for their activities by the Research Councils.

Funding is available for any activity that is directly related to the research project being proposed. This can include activity undertaken or delivered by community partners, but only where this is clearly related to the delivery of the research project. Funding is not available for community partners to continue to deliver their core business, and funds cannot be used outside the dates of the award itself.

Applications should be costed at 100% full economic costs but funding will only be provided by the AHRC through the engagement centre for 80% of the full economic costs. In authorising the application the lead applicant’s research organisation (along, where appropriate, with other project partner research organisations) must commit to meeting the remaining 20% full economic costs of the project.


All applications will be assessed by a funding panel appointed by the Centre, and including experts in the study of the First World War period, and in working with community groups.

Assessment Criteria

All applications will be judged according to the engagement centres’ shared Assessment Criteria which can be found here. Please consult this carefully when preparing your application.

Queries may be directed to john.beckett@nottingham.ac.uk



Save the Date: Global Perspectives and People’s Pathways, Leeds 21-22 October


Leeds City Museum and the Centre for Hidden Histories invite you to save the dates for a pair of events taking place at the museum on the 21st and 22nd October.

Study Day (£20pp*)
Global Perspectives on WW1
11am – 4pm, Friday 21st October

Community Day
Peoples’ Pathways: Soldiers from Overseas in WW1
11am – 3pm, Saturday 22nd October

Call for Participation
We’d love to hear from experts and community-led projects that explore these themes. Slots from between 30mins and an hour are available at each event for talks, presentations, workshops and performances. Please email lucy.moore@leeds.gov.uk by 31/8/16 if you are interested.

*Some bursaries may be available to help with costs. Please get in touch for more details.