Introducing Christopher Langdon: Southend Museums Roll of Honour Outreach Officer

My name is Christopher Langdon and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund am Southend Museums Roll of Honour Outreach officer.

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My role here consists of two key constituent parts. The first is researching, interpreting, and digitally archiving the roll of honour for Southend-on-Sea borough. It is to be periodically updated on the touch-screen roll of honour in the Refectory of Prittlewell Priory for free access by the public.

Consisting of some 2,125 names on the Prittlewell Priory memorial, there are names to be added that were not contemporaneously noted, as well as those to be added from the borough boundary changes of 1974. I use several sources in order to accurately and categorically research the roll correctly, primarily the Jarvis edition of the towns roll, De Ruvigny’s roll of honour, as well as the original list of names written during/after the war before the memorial was first established.

With special thanks to the commonwealth war graves commission, researching into those killed has never been more accessible for the public at large, and with locals who have contributed to this field (including Lesley Iles and John Baker), as well as the local Western Front Association, enabling to undertake the painstaking project to archive this towns roll is a task made slightly more bearable.

The second aspect of the role is outreach in the community. With outreach thus far extending largely to schools, workshops with a “hands on” approach to the Great War has enabled primary school pupils to engage empirically with the history of Southend during the war, as well as to experience some of the aspects of the war for themselves. This is all the more engaging when schools come to the museum, with an accompanying exhibition on Southend and the Great War.

With regards to secondary schools, extra-curricular research projects have been undertaken for inter-disciplinary projects across the educational spectrum which has engaged students in research techniques, as well as critical analysis and interpretation of history.

There has even been a Masters research project that the project has helped with regards to Southend during the war. Community groups and interest groups are also within the boundaries of the outreach project, including additional support at the Forum (Southend Library).

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Over the following 18 months, I hope to update on the blog with occasional articles regarding the roll of honour, remembrance, and Southend during this period, for those who are completely new to the topic, generally interested, as well as those wanting to deepen their knowledge on this fascinating, as well as ever-present part of our social, family, and national consciousness.

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