In 2014, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service began an exciting new project based upon opening access to one of its hidden gems, the Mid-Staffordshire Military Appeal Tribunal records between 1916 and 1918.
The records of all Military Appeal Tribunals across the county were destroyed by order after the war, but the chance survival of the Staffordshire collection makes these particularly significant. As we close in on the centenary since their creation, we believe that their rare survival offers a real opportunity to learn more about war in Staffordshire.
Due to the wide support and time offered by volunteers, alongside guidance from Professor Karen Hunt of Keele University, a wide range of sources including newspapers, school log books and county minute books, are now being searched to explore what the Tribunal papers reveal about the changing nature of everyday life on the Staffordshire home front.
The research project ‘The Mid Staffordshire Appeal Tribunal: a window onto everyday life on the Staffordshire home front’, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council is a response to how best explore and analyse the wide range of new material unearthed by the initial HLF project. Revealing hidden histories not only about those who were called to Colours, but the world of Staffordshire’s communities at the time, helping us to understand how a particular home front was experienced and changed over the duration of the Great War.
This blog will facilitate discussions between volunteer groups and community partners on which themes to concentrate on and how to compare and contrast the evidence found from different sources, identifying key stories and themes for creating a narrative of everyday life on the Staffordshire home front.