North East Connected

First World War Bake Off

The contest was part of the inaugural Durham at War conference at County Hall.

Organised by Durham County Council’s Durham at War team, the event offered volunteers working on the website the chance to come together to discuss their research.

The day also included a number of visiting speakers, information stalls and an open session where everyone was invited to talk about their contribution to the project.

Gill Parkes, Durham County Record Office principal archivist, said: “The aim of the conference was to recognise and thank our volunteers for all their hard work in making the Durham at War website such a success.

“It also gave them a chance to meet up, share their experiences and compare notes on the research they have been carrying out.

“The day went extremely well and it was great to be able to meet so many of our volunteers in person.”

Speakers including Jim Busby, who had travelled from Canada to talk about how he has been helping research County Durham soldiers for Durham at War, and John Sheen, who has written several books about North East battalions and whose interest in the First World War has resulted in him signing up for an MA in the subject.

Carol Hunt and Andrea McIver-Hunt talked about their German-born great grandfather, Theodor Gotthilf Fiedler, who was forced to return home when war broke out, leaving behind his North East-born wife and young children.

There were also details of how feedback from the public is helping to shape an upcoming Durham Light Infantry exhibition at Palace Green and a sneak peek at the latest First World War film produced by Wessington U3A.


Margaret Hedley, of Wheatley Hill History Group was awarded first prize in the Bake Off contest for her trench cake, while John Sheen, from Durham, and Kevin Richardson, of the Fallen Men of South Durham project, shared joint second place for their Anzac wafers and trench cake.

Durham at War aims to map the impact of the First World War on people across the North East, providing access to thousands of fascinating real-life stories and in-depth research from local heritage collections.

Members of the public are also encouraged to add their own research, images and documents to the site.

Durham County Council was awarded £475,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014 to set up the site, which is a partnership venture by Durham County Record Office, the council’s archaeology service and the DLI Collections team.

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