6 February 2014 17:40

Historians from Lancaster University are inviting local people to help flesh out the stories of more than a thousand men from the city who died in World War One.

`Streets of Mourning,’ a unique map highlighting the homes of the dead, is being showcased in St Nicholas Arcades on February 12 as part of Campus in the City, where Lancaster University brings its research into the community. 

Streets coloured red on the map suffered heavy casualties; these include Ullswater Road in Freehold with at least 17 dead, in Primrose, Clarence Street suffered 15 losses and Prospect Street 14 while Norfolk Street in Skerton also had 14. Many other streets had similar numbers of deaths.

Simply by clicking on their street, neighbourhood or school, people can find out the names and personal details of the casualties along with information about their next of kin.

Current schoolchildren can also find which former pupils from their school died in the conflict. Schools such as Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Skerton School, Bowerham School and Cathedral Primary (formerly St Peter’s School) all suffered dozens of casualties among their old boys.

The interactive map is based on research by the Lancaster Military Heritage Group and materials held by Peter Donnelly of the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, who is dressing in World War One uniform for the event on February 12.

He worked closely with historians from Lancaster University like Professor Ian Gregory who said: “The ‘Streets of Mourning’ maps help you begin to understand the impact that the deaths of over 1,000 young men would have had on a town the size of Lancaster. We want people to tell any stories they may know of these people because we need local knowledge. We also want to know how we can improve the website and how people want to use it.”

One ultimate aim is to create a walking tour of Lancaster in the First World War, to include some of the worst affected streets, with pictures and names of the dead in the window of each house affected by a loss.

Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird of Lancaster University said: “There were dozens of dead on some streets – fathers, sons and brothers – and the impact on the community must have been immense. Whole streets would have been in mourning.  We are interested not just in those who died but also in those who survived and had to live with that loss.”

The free event , “Lancaster and the First World War: The King’s Own, Casualties and Westfield War Memorial Village then and now” will run throughout the week  from Wednesday 12 to Saturday 15 Feb from 10am to 5:30pm every day.