Exhibition to kick start this year’s season

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A new exhibition has been launched as part of the official opening of the 2017 season at Crich Tramway Village.

New for the season is the Arms to Armistice display, which is the second in the series of exhibitions at the National Tramway Museum to examine how the outbreak of the First World War affected the tramways of Britain.

Crich Tramway Village curator Laura Waters said: “The exhibition explores the latter years of the war from mid-1916 through to the Armistice in 1918, following on from the previous exhibition Tramway Tommies and Clippie Girls, which looked at the early war years.

“Arms to Armistice reveals how the increased employment of women on the trams led to them taking on more responsibilities and pushing the boundaries of the roles that they were able to step into.”

The exhibition examines how, as their responsibilities increased, women employed by the tramways were motivated to ask for equal pay and working conditions, and it looks at the disputes and strikes that occurred as a result.

It also shows that the tramway industry as a whole, although progressive in the use of women as conductors and drivers, didn’t necessarily advocate their long-term employment, and how once the war was over, they were dismissed as quickly as they were recruited.

The exhibition shows how the thousands of men returning from war were re-integrated into their former roles on the tramways and how the government encouraged the employment of ex-servicemen.

The Memorial Wall recognises the sacrifice of those tramway employees who never returned from the war.

Laura added: “I am really proud of everyone who has been involved over the last three years with research and development for our First World War activities and exhibitions at the museum. But for me that wall represents exactly why we chose to do the exhibitions and recruitment tram, it’s all about remembering and acknowledging the sacrifice and changes during that period.”