Helping to unearth the history of Shirehampton’s war horses
Press release issued: 13 March 2013
Shirehampton’s vital role in supplying horses to the frontline during the First World War is being investigated for a special project being led by the University of Bristol. Residents are being invited to a special event on Sunday [17 March] to contribute any memories and artefacts they might have about the heritage of Avonmouth and Shirehampton, while also learning more about the area’s important role during the war.
Avonmouth was a strategically important military depot, a place from which many troops and equipment were dispatched to the Western Front. One of the key features of this military effort was the establishment of a Remount Depot at Shirehampton that stabled and supplied over 300,000 horses and mules to the front between 1914 and 1918.
No visible remains of this facility survive and, despite its large size, little is known about the men, animals and facilities that were such a big part of Britain’s war effort.
Digital images will be taken of residents’ objects which will contribute to Bristol City Council's Know Your Place project. This is an open-access interactive map website where layers of historic maps are overlaid on the modern map of the city, allowing users to explore the historic landscape underneath their feet, and the evolution of their localities.
Peter Insole, Bristol City Council’s Archaeological Officer, said: “We believe that people in Avonmouth and Shirehampton have heard about or know about the First World War heritage in the area and that they may have even found artefacts whilst gardening such as horse shoes from the Remount Depot or military badges, pieces of pottery and so on.”
Dr James Thompson, a Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Bristol, said: “The remount depot at Shirehampton played a significant role in the war effort of 1914-18. This project will shed new light on the history of Shirehampton, and of the First World War through the work of residents in collaboration with the University of Bristol. We are excited about continuing the collaboration, as part of the Know Your Place initiative, in the lead up to the centenary.”
Funding for the project has come from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities Programme, which is working in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories Programme to support community-led heritage research projects.
- Everyone’s welcome to come along to Shirehampton Public Hall (BS11 9TX) at any time between 1.30pm and 5pm on Sunday, 17 March, and they are encouraged to bring along their own stories and objects. Admission is free and no booking required.
For further information, please see the Centre for Public Engagement's website.