From street to trench

Revealing extraordinary stories never told publicly before, IWM North launches its first major exhibition this weekend to mark the start of the First World War Centenary.

From Street To Trench: A World War That Shaped A Region is the largest exhibition ever created exploring the lives and experiences of people from the North West of England during the First World War. It reveals more than 200 personal objects, films, sound recordings, photographs, artworks and letters – many on public display for the first time.

Items from IWM’s unrivalled national collections are drawn together with objects on loan to reveal the stories of lives shaped by the conflict. From poet Wilfred Owen and future Prime Minister Clement Attlee, to Victoria Cross recipients and first-hand accounts by civilians on the home front.

Explore the impact of the conflict by stepping into Stockport market in 1914, walking down a northern terraced street, and following the journey of many to the trenches of the western front and beyond. As the North West was a major focus for recruitment, many left the region for the first time to serve across the globe.

On display is a rare Albert Medal awarded to frontline medic Sergeant Victor Brookes for his life-saving actions; a Victoria Cross belonging to Cheshire soldier John Davies who put his life at risk to save others; and many other little known stories uncovered by IWM researchers.

Discover how Manchester led the way in innovation and creativity, including a trench periscope created by the owner of Duerrs jam factory, which still operates today. The story of Altrincham’s Chapel Street – “the bravest little street in England” – reveals how 161 men from just 60 houses served during the war.

Family visitors can crawl through a frontline tunnel to find out how the sewer workers of Manchester were employed for a secret task in France, or play hopscotch on the set of a wartime street. Interactive touch screens reveal the roles you might have played in the First World War.

For more information, visit or find IWM North on twitter @I_W_M #IWMNorth or

Special Exhibitions Gallery, IWM North, Manchester, 5 April 2014 – 31 May 2015

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