To Our Brothers

Memorials to a Lost Generation in British Schools

Sarah Wearne

To Our Brothers: Memorials to a Lost Generation in British Schools 1914-1918 shows how a nation not noted for its ability to express emotion, in fact famous for its stiff upper lip, managed to convey its grief, love and pride for some of the thousands of its young men who were killed during the First World War.
Date Published :
February 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Contributor(s) :
James Kerr
Illustration :
130 color photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781911628255
Pages : 216
Dimensions : 10.5 X 9.5 inches
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In stock
$59.95

Overview
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To Our Brothers: Memorials to a Lost Generation in British Schools shows how a nation not noted for its ability to express emotion, in fact famous for its stiff upper lip, managed to convey its grief, love and pride for some of the thousands of its young men who were killed during the First World War.

Schools had a peculiarly intense relationship with their dead, especially boarding schools. Most of them were much smaller than they are today, pupils spent more time there, there were fewer exeats and some boys, whose parents lived abroad, even remained at school during the holidays. All of which gave real meaning to the term alma mater, nurturing mother, and in loco parentis, in place of a parent. Many boys went straight from school into the services and were dead within a year. The staff still knew them and grieved for them as they might for their own sons, and in some cases the dead were their own sons.

The book will show how schools used the language of Britain’s past, its cultural heritage – history, religion, customs, art, architecture, literature and myth – to articulate their emotions, to make their memorials speak. But it’s a language the twenty-first century doesn’t speak very well anymore. It doesn’t pick up the biblical and literary allusions, understand the architectural forms, or recognize the symbolic references.

By looking at the memorials in fifty schools across Britain, small grammar schools to the great public schools, chapels to sports pavilions, jeweled altar crosses to sundials, objects made of stone, wood, stained glass, brass, silver, bronze, gold leaf, parchment and paper, all nuanced by their cultural references, the author shows how school memorials were able to express a complex raft of emotions.

The book has been beautifully and atmospherically illustrated with numerous color photographs that do great justice to the memorials that are in some cases the work of masters of the Arts and Crafts movement and the best-known architects of the day, and to others that are simply the affecting work of a parent or the school’s art master. There are many previously unknown treasures among the collection, some of them previously unknown to the schools themselves.

About The Author
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Sarah Wearne’s Interest Is In Cultures Of Commemoration, Especially Those Relating To The First World War; It’s A Subject On Which She Writes, Gives Talks And Curates Exhibitions. She Has Recently Published, In Association With The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Three Collections Of Personal Inscriptions From The Graves Of Soldiers Killed During The Somme, Passchendaele And Last 100 Days’ Campaigns, Fascinated By The Insight These Inscriptions Give Into The Hearts And Minds Of The Bereaved As Revealed By The Quotations They Chose, The Vocabulary They Used And The Imagery They Employed. It’s This Same Fascination That Has Led Her To Study The War Memorials Of A Community, British Schools. As The Archivist Of Abingdon School She Is Familiar With How These Communities Work And How They Used To Work, And As A Member Of The School Archivists Group, Whose Co-Operation Has Been Vital In The Production Of This Book, She Has Had To Access Archival Records That Animate The Text.

James Kerr has been a commercial, garden and landscape photographer for more than 20 years. The First World War has always held a great fascination and he has visited the Western Front many times with his camera. Before becoming a photographer, he spent seven years in the Coldstream Guards. His work has been published in several books on the war, as well as Shakespeare's Scenery - a coffee table book of Warwickshire - with a foreword by Dame Judi Dench.

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