Rothbury, Northumberland, the distinctive earthwork lines of practice trenches that remain visible on the heather clad moorland.

About this image

Rothbury, Northumberland, the earthwork remains of practice trenches probably dug in early 1915 by men of the 18th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Pioneers). The unit later served on the first day of the Somme offensive in July 1916. © Historic England Archive 20683-055.

What We Already Know

Historic England has documenting the ‘footprint’ that the First World War (WW1, or World War One) has left on England’s buildings, countryside, and in her coastal waters. This programme of investigation and photography will continue beyond the 2014-2018 centenary .

The following pages give a sense of the large number and variety of places that we have investigated.

Women workers machining artillery shells and checking the shells’ dimensions with gauges
Cunard’s Shellworks, Liverpool. Women workers in hazardous conditions machining artillery shells (BL24001-21)

Why are we doing this?

This research is crucial in documenting and preserving little-known or forgotten historic sites for future generations. It will lead to a new understanding of the First World War, and to the most important sites being protected.

The unsung First Home Front

A century after the end of the war, reminders are all around us. Some, such as war memorials, will be familiar. But by far the majority of places associated with the First World War are unrecognised, neglected, or derelict, and many are still to be re-discovered.

Together they bear historical witness to the unsung First Home Front. This was the extraordinary, often dangerous, civilian and military effort taking place within Britain that provided vital support to the armed forces during the 51 months of warfare that engulfed the world.

As the war progressed Britain’s civilian population was increasingly drawn into the conflict. Evidence of this survives in virtually every part of the country, but until now it has been little researched and even less understood.

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