A newly published book throws light on what life was like in St Albans during the First World War.
St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-1918is based on over three years research by members of the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society and is published by University of Hertfordshire Press.
The book reveals how St Albans became a garrison town for the first time in centuries in August 1914. This forced local people to quickly adjust to troops being billeted in their homes, schools and church halls as some 7,000 troops flooded into the city as part of military plans to protect the country from invasion and an attack on London.
St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-1918, provides insights into the day-to-day struggles caused by wartime legislation, food and fuel shortages, the introduction of rationing, the entirely new threat of air raids and the need to support the fighting men and the wounded.
It also provides a detailed study of the tribunal system, established in 1916 following the introduction of conscription. This enabled the researchers to piece together the stories of hundreds of local men whose applications were heard by the St Albans Military Service Tribunal.
Finally, the book examines the issue of commemoration, which began with the erection of street shrines in 1916 and led to over 40 First World War memorials being placed in and around the city following the end of the conflict.
The book is available from Waterstones and the Cathedral Bookshop, price £18.99. An e-book version is also available.
Diary date: * 7 – 16 November 2016 – exhibition in the North Transept at St Albans Cathedral, including photographs, maps and research information featured in St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-1918, organised by members of the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society research team responsible for producing the book.