Local history comes to life at Aquafest

Revellers attending Aquafest last weekend got a taste of life on the home front when a pop-up exhibition about the wartime years came to Ely.
Run by Viva Arts in Soham, Street Life 1939-1945 aims to show people what life was like for local families living during World War II, focusing on life on the home front rather than on the battle front.
The exhibition launched at the Chatteris Midsummer Festival last month, before coming to Aquafest at Ely Riverside on Sunday.
It received an enthusiastic response from young and old alike, who got to look at wartime photo albums and artifacts and learn about local history in an interactive way. Kids were even able to dress up in clothes from a bygone era and try on gas masks.
Those behind Street Life 1939-1945 have been going into schools to talk to children about life during the war, as well as collecting artifacts, photographs and interviews with people who lived in Ely, Littleport, Chatteris or Soham during the War, or their relatives.
The project, given a £77,500 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to enable local people to discover who lived and worked in their towns – possibly even their own houses – during the War from 1939-1945.
The interactive exhibition will continue to tour across the area, including at Ely Markets and Soham Pumpkin Fair.
For more information see http://www.hlfstreetlife.org/

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