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WWI hidden histories

WWI plaque in the former Holy Trinity Church, right- left Clare Hankinson(Fabrica), Nicola Benge(Strike A Light)
©Tony Mould:images copyright protected

Heritage Lottery Fund

Fabrica, a visual arts organisation based in the former Holy Trinity Church in Ship Street, in partnership with Strike A Light and Brighton & Hove Library Services, has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project, The Boys on the Plaque, in Brighton & Hove. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will highlight a recently uncovered WWI memorial plaque situated in the former Holy Trinity Church which houses Fabrica gallery.

Researching hidden history

On 4 August, 2014, the original commemorative plaque was uncovered at the building – 30 years after the church was closed when the plaque was covered up. Supported by a team of archivists, artists and historians, the local community will come together through research, creative activities and heritage events to discover the hidden histories of the ninety five soldiers commemorated on the plaque and consider the personal experiences of ordinary people during the war.

For a list of names and more information on the project visit here

Comments about this page

  • Wonderful that this plaque should have been uncovered on the very centenary day of the First World War. My researches have yielded the following record, from the Brighton Gazette dated 16 November 1918, of a thanksgiving service for the ending of the war. See the following link:

    By Douglas d'Enno (11/09/2015)
  • My Grandfather Robert Ivermee is on this tablet and he died a corporal and not a private as stated, I knew of this plaque’s existence many years ago when I worked for Btn and Hove Council, a colleague who was undertaking maintenance here informed me of it but I never got chance to see it until many years later. I sadly know very little of my grandfather except how he died of wounds in France following an attack on German positions as recorded in a local paper headlined ‘The day Sussex Died’. 

    By Roger Ivermee (12/09/2015)
  • Last Thursday, 10 Sep, my wife and I attended the church to see the plaque. My 2nd cousin David Fleet and his wife were with us also.On the plaque is the name Frederick J.Guy. He was my uncle (Frederick Jesse Guy) and David Fleet’s grandfather. We cannot understand the purpose of him being on the plaque as he died in 1972. Usually plaques such as these contain names of deceased persons for them to be remembered. We had a very enjoyable afternoon and we were able to reveal much information about our relative to the researcher who is attempting to find out about all of the names on the plaque. We also listened to very interesting talks about the hospital in the Pavilion and the gathering of peoples wartime memories for a large website. Tea and very nice cakes were provided.

    By Peter Guy (15/09/2015)
  • Peter, I am one of the researchers on this project and led a guided walk about the ‘Boys’ as part of the Heritage Open Days last week. Frederick Guy is on the panel of those who, gladly, returned. As most war memorials only show the deceased, it makes this panel special. I do not know if you have any further family history but from the 1914 Kelly’s Directory I have found a Norton Guy not far away from the church living at 4 Mount Zion Place near St.Nicholas church; are they related?

    By Geoffrey Mead (17/09/2015)
  • Hi Geoffrey, thank you for replying to my message. Yes I do have a complete family history dating back to Alexander Guy (1620s).My grandfather was Norton Jesse Guy and his wife was Emma Klissner. Her father was a former German citizen Albert Klissner and was thus my GGfather. I have four generations of his German family also.

    By Peter Guy (20/09/2015)
  • Hi Douglas, Roger and Peter (and Geoffrey!). Thanks for your messages of support and interest. I’m the Project Manager for The Boys on the Plaque. Douglas – thanks so much for this, fascinating and a real, personal connection to us and WWI. Roger – Great to hear from you! Ross Hammond, our Volunteer Research Group coordinator mentioned your message yesterday at our meeting and we’re perplexed about this mistake on the plaque. I wonder how it happened. We are researching all of the men listed on the plaque – it would be great if we could get in touch and share what we find with you, and perhaps you’d be happy to chat with us about what you know? You can let us know, if you would be, via – we’d really love to hear from you. Peter – hello, I really enjoyed meeting you at the open day. I think Ross was able to talk in some detail with you and of course now we have your contact details I hope we can offer up some new info as the project progresses. If you have any questions/thoughts in the meantime do get in touch. Thanks all, looking forward to finding out more about our ‘Boys’ in the coming months. Clare

    By Clare Hankinson (25/09/2015)
  • Hi Clare. Sorry for not picking up your comment earlier, but here I am! It’s good to ‘meet’ the Project Manager for The Boys on the Plaque. How can I arrange to see this? Regarding the comments by Peter Guy and Geoffrey Mead, I can confirm that not all commemorative plaques bore the name of war dead. I quote the following from my forthcoming book on Brighton in the Great War: ‘Back in October 1916, a shrine and roll of honour – doubtless one of several unveiled in that year – had been dedicated in Brewer Street, a small street off Lewes Road comprising forty-one houses. Its contribution to the armed forces was reported to have reached a total of no less than forty-five, although the list printed in the Gazette contains only forty-four names, thus giving an average of more than one man per house. Two of the men, Charles Hunt and George Woodnutt, had already been killed. The memorial had been provided through the efforts of the ladies connected with St Martin’s Church, Lewes Road. In this instance, ‘Roll of Honour’ denoted men on active service, not war dead, the latter being named below the heading ‘R.I.P.’ [underline inserted today]. Similar shrines were erected in 1917, in Park Street (February), Elder Row (May), Crown Gardens, Centurion Road, Upper North Street (August) and Providence Place (also August). In the case of both Elder Row and Providence Place, Brewer Street’s record of more than one name per house was matched. Hope this is of interest. [Hello Douglas, you can email one of the team, Nicola Benge, at  Hope that’s useful and you get to see the plaque. Best wishes, Comments Ed] 

    By Douglas d'Enno (13/10/2015)

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