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WW1 legacy reflected in major photographic exhibition

A major photographic exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the First World War launches in Worcester’s Cathedral Square on 1 September.

Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace 14/18 displays the work of international award-winning photojournalist Michael St. Maur Sheil.  Over 10 million people worldwide have now viewed the exhibition, which is open-air and free to view.

The exhibition will be in Cathedral Square from 25 August to 30 September as part of the city’s History Month.  Worcester is the only location north of London to host the exhibition in 2018; after closing it will go directly to St. James’s Park, London for the final part of the centenary period.

Captured over a period of eight years, Michael St. Maur Sheil’s photography depicts First World War battlefields around the world as they are today. One hundred years on, time and nature have helped to heal the scars on the landscapes, turning places of horror and devastation to lands of peace and tranquillity.

Michael commented: “This collection represents a legacy which I hope will create a gateway to the battlefields themselves, thus encouraging people to visit these historic landscapes and to create awareness and understanding of the events and historical implications of the First World War".

More than 50 images and 22,000 words of text and fascinating facts engage the viewer in this powerful and poignant exhibition, presented in large format on an impressive scale.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Lt. Col Patrick Holcroft, will officially open the exhibition on Saturday 1 September at 10.55am.  Michael St. Maur Sheil will also be present at the launch, and will give a brief introduction to the exhibition.  At 11.00am bells from Worcester Cathedral will ring out, to mark the opening.

The exhibition is part of a series of events which are taking place across the county between 2014 and 2018 to commemorate the centenary of World War 1.

Adrian Gregson, manager for the Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme says: “I am thrilled that working with our partners, we can showcase the full Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace exhibition for the people of Worcester.

“This outdoor display will enable people to see for themselves how time and nature have changed the landscapes which were the battlegrounds of the First World War. We hope as many people as possible come out to see these incredibly stunning and deeply poignant images.”

On Wednesday 26 September at 7.00pm in Henry Sandon Hall (Severn Street, Worcester), Dr. Spencer Jones, award-winning historian and author, will give a lecture written especially to accompany Mike Sheil’s Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace exhibition.

The lecture, entitled The Final Battle: The Hundred Days' Offensive and the End of the First World War tells the story of these remarkable and largely forgotten battles, and reflects upon the colossal changes to Europe in the aftermath of the war.

Tickets for the lecture are available from the Worcester Live Box Office on 01905 611427 (£5.00 per person). There will also be the opportunity to view The People’s Collection - a travelling exhibition showcasing letters, photographs and artefacts which tell the stories of Worcestershire during the First World War.  The exhibition will be located in Henry Sandon Hall throughout September.

About Worcestershire World War One Hundred
The programme, which received the largest Heritage Lottery Fund Grant outside of London for a project commemorating the First World War, commemorates the role Worcestershire played in World War One and tells the stories of Worcestershire people, their involvement with and personal legacy from the War.

For the full programme visit: http://www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk/ or follow @WW1Worcs

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