Lest We Forget: Exhibition at Lydiard House

Category: 20th century

The upcoming exhibition at Lydiard House is titled “Lest We Forget: The Black Contribution to the World Wars in Wiltshire,” and offers a contemplative journey into the Black history of the 20th century. It delves into the personal narratives of Caribbean and American servicemen during WWI and WWII in Wiltshire.

Through a blend of videos, artworks, and contributions from local groups, the exhibition bridges contemporary collecting with community involvement, ensuring the preservation and sharing of these often-overlooked histories.

Black GIs  were stationed at Lydiard Park and were probably responsible for building the 302nd American Station Hospital Camp in the park in 1943. A few local residents can still remember meeting GIs in and around the villages of Hook and Lydiard Millicent.

Funding support from Wessex Museums, facilitated by Arts Council England (ACE), has been instrumental in realizing this project. The research which supports it has been undertaken by Community Curator Amy Hammett. Amy’s work has been pivotal in establishing connections and fostering relationships with both Black and military communities in Wiltshire, sensitively unearthing and amplifying these stories.

The exhibition is a result of collaboration with various organizations including Wiltshire Race Equality Council, Black Poppy Rose, the Army’s Multicultural Network, British Legion, and members of the Black community.

The exhibition will display at Lydiard House from April 2024 to December 2024.

Plan of 302nd American Station Hospital Camp, Lydiard Park (Copyright Lydiard House).

If you are interested in exploring the wartime history of Lydiard Park you can find a wealth of original photographs, plans and recollections in The Lydiard Archives