On Sunday 11 November 2018, exactly 100 years since the Armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War 1, Chippenham Town Council will unveil a special commemorative tapestry in the town’s museum. This has been crafted by local textile artist Fi Redmond and is the result of a Community Tapestry project which has worked with schools and community groups during the last few months. The community’s response to WW1 will be displayed alongside the tapestry in an exhibition at Chippenham Museum highlighting stories of remembrance. This exhibition, also featuring items from the museum’s collection, will be open from 11 November to 26 January with free entry.
The commemorative tapestry, a section of which is shown above, has been produced by Chippenham based textile artist Fi Redmond.
Two days later on 13 November at 7.00pm the community will re-enact the peace celebration which took place spontaneously in the Market Place on that day and time a century ago as reported in the Wiltshire Times on 16 November 1919:
“Chippenham had a second joy day, or rather evening, on Wednesday expressive of all their feelings at the fact that the war is at length over. A torchlight procession hurriedly arranged, but excellently carried out was held. The procession formed up in the Market Place ( at 7.00pm), where a large concourse assembled, those taking part including the Volunteers, …, the nurses from the Red Cross Hospital, the members of the V.A.D., the convalescent soldiers from the hospital, the munitionettes, munition workers and employees in other industries of the town… The procession moved off in splendid order, and presented a pretty sight in the clear moonlight. ….”
Museum Curator Melissa Barnett said “These activities will conclude a five year programme of educational and research projects which aimed to commemorate and celebrate Chippenham’s role in the Great War. The material assembled has led to exhibitions, events, talks, walks, and publications, a restored War Memorial, a commemorative tapestry and even a memorial bench. During WW1 the people of Chippenham sacrificed so much both at home and abroad and this hasn’t been forgotten by the Chippenham of today.”
Cllr Teresa Hutton, Chair of the Amenities, Culture and Leisure Committee at Chippenham Town Council said “ We are privileged to be honouring Armistice Day with a wide-ranging collection of events and activities in Chippenham which run alongside our traditional service of Remembrance at St Andrews Church and the Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial.”
Chippenham Museum, a Chippenham Town Council facility, is free to visit and open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. The museum tells the story of the people and history of Chippenham and surrounding villages from prehistoric times up until the present day, with family activities such as dressing up and museum trails and two floors of galleries to explore.