Cathays Remembers: Intergenerational project marks WWI centenary

A year-long project bridging the generations to remember local people who served in the Great War culminates with an Armistice Memorial event in Cathays tomorrow.


Ahead of the centenary of the end of the First World War, children from a city primary school have been working with older members of the community and Cardiff Libraries Service to explore and commemorate people from their area who fought for their country  from 1914-1918.


Pupils from St Monica's Church in Wales Primary School in Cathays have worked closely with Pentyrch Street Baptist Church, The Table, and Cathays Branch and Heritage Library to trace the history of individuals whose names are listed on a memorial plaque in the church.


The intergenerational project  -Greater Love : Research, Reflect, Remember, has involved Year 5 pupils embarking on their own mini ‘Who do you think you are?' investigations using the Heritage Library collection at Cathays to find out about the lives of those featured on the plaque.


With access to the wide range of resources, from old public records to photographs and maps, and the expertise available at the Heritage Library, the pupils have uncovered a wealth of facts including family trees, addresses and jobs to compile biographies of their subjects. Pupils have also composed poems about the Great War and used their art skills to design medals to be award for attributes including kindness, bravery and friendship; poppies and recruitment posters.


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Members of the luncheon club have shared their memories of the local area in years gone by with the children and also discussed their experiences of what it was like to live in the city following the conclusion of the Second World War.


The project concludes in a special Remembrance event on Wednesday, November 7, starting with a service at The Table when the children will showcase some of their work. Both generations will discuss how they have worked together on the project, before proceedings move to St Monica's for a variety of activities including crafts, readings, games and discussions.


In the final part of the event, the children will embark on a Suffrage march carrying placards they have designed from the school to the library where Year 6 pupils will act as curators in an exhibition of their project work.  Activities  will continue throughout the afternoon and members of the public are invited to attend. The exhibition will be available at the library until November 17.


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Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "This has been a fascinating way for the pupils of St Monica's primary to learn about the First World War and to connect with and have friendships with members of the community today who have so much knowledge and experience of the past to share.


"The project has really brought history to life for the children and by working with Cathays Branch and Heritage Library and using the fantastic resources in our Local Studies collection, they have been able to explore the real lives of real people who fought for their country 100 years ago."


St Monica's Primary Headteacher, Abi Beacon, said: "The children have gained such a lot from the project. Many of our children live far away from their own families and intergenerational conversations can be few and far between. They have made genuine friendships with seniors in our community, faces light up when they see each other and there is a palpable air of anticipation and excitement when they know they will be working together again. 


"Working with Katherine in the Library has been inspirational for the children, they have seen how the careful custodianship of artefacts means we can get clues about our past. It is exciting to think we will be making artefacts others might use in the future."


Rob Morse, Pastor of The Table, said: "Greater Love has allowed the children and seniors to explore an untrendy concept, that of self-sacrifice. The reflection has been deep. I believe the lasting impact will be deeper still. Greater Love hath no man than this,  that a man lay down his life for his friends."