Westfield War Memorial Village provides a near-perfect case study of the challenges and innovations that have proved central to the shaping of ‘modern life’. From industrialised world wars to political, social and sexual reforms, Westfield War Memorial Village and its tenants have battled to retain a sense of identity, cohesion and purpose.
In recent years the charity has worked both closely and successfully with the Department of History at Lancaster University, supporting a number of graduate and post-graduate studies that have covered such areas as memorialisation, disability and housing legislation.
Such is the richness and sensitive nature of much of the primary material held at Westfield, it is not possible to view it outside of the Westfield premises, without prior consent and without stringent ‘rules of use’ being agreed between the interested parties.
It is, however, hoped that future funding can be sourced to enable some of the less sensitive material to be made available to interested parties in a digitally accessible format. It is also hoped that teacher-friendly material (such as downloadable pdf worksheets) can be made available in the coming years for primary and secondary school studies.
Westfield is a site of great historic interest, but it is also a private village with unadopted roads, pavings, verges and grassed communal areas – all funded by the residents, housing association and charity. As such, one of the big challenges that the occupants, managers and custodians of the village face is how to strike the right balance between public access and the kind of privacy that most of us expect when we are relaxing in or around our homes.
The First World War centenary has raised the profile of the village considerably, with growing demand from individuals and groups to tour the community and view the properties and monuments. This is understandable and it is hoped that the public interest can be managed in a way that is satisfactory to all parties.
All of the interested parties at Westfield are, to this end, presently discussing the idea of fully organised and managed ‘open days’ which would provide the public with the opportunity to visit the village and enjoy informative guided tours.
Further details will be available on this website in the coming months…