First World War: Land
To equip the New Armies, air force, and navy, the conflict became a war of production. Existing factories were extended and huge new ones created. In towns and cities many buildings assumed new roles, as headquarters for refugee charities, meeting places for knitting and sewing circles to provide comforts for the troops, rest cafes for soldiers and sailors, and many other uses. Every building built before 1918 will have a story to tell about its inhabitants’ wartime experiences.
As German U-boats attacked merchant shipping, threatening starvation on the population, the countryside was worked more intensively to produce food, as well as timber. Country houses were offered up for war service as military hospitals and convalescent homes. Later the deaths in service of many landowners and their heirs in the war led to the break up of many large country estates.
The following pages explore how the whole country was mobilised for war. Find out where Historic England is conducting new investigations to increase understanding and working to improve the protection of key sites. And discover how to get involved in recording the traces of the Home Front that may still be found all around us.