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Research Request: "The Materiality, Memories and Material Culture of Princess Mary’s 1914 Christmas Gift to Soldiers and Sailors during the First World War"

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Can you help with the following research?


Hello, my name is Martin Barry.

I am a PhD student from the University of Bristol researching ‘The Materiality, Memories and Material Culture of Princess Mary’s 1914 Christmas Gift to Soldiers and Sailors during the First World War’.


These little embossed brass boxes were only given to those ‘wearing the King’s uniform on Christmas Day 1914’ and in all around 2.6 million were issued.

They were packed individually into a cardboard box along with accompanying ‘comforts’ such as smoking pipes, tobacco, cigarettes, sweets for non-smokers and chocolate for nurses. Nothing was placed inside the brass box except either a flint and tinder cigarette lighter or a pencil made from a rifle bullet.

This object is a powerful example of the material culture of the First World War and carries with it many significant biographies. Biographies that include memory, remembrance and commemoration. Some are empty reminders of a much-loved father…

New Novel 'The Thegn's Creed' by Sue Boddington

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The anticipated new historical novel by Sue Boddington

The Thegn’s Creed follows two brothers struggling to come to terms with the upheaval of their world and maintain their status as freemen, ten years are the Norman Conquest.

Tragedy, deceit, vengeance, and romance are played out against a backdrop of 11th Century Wiltshire village life, still full of tension between Saxon and Norman.

With all profits going to the Calne Heritage Centre, The Thegn’s Creed is available from Devizes Books and from Sue herself via sue.boddington@virgin.net or 01380 828851 for only £8.95

Calne Heritage Centre Closure

Calne Heritage Centre will be closed until further notice.

We have taken this step to protect our volunteers, many of whom fall within the vulnerable category related to the coronavirus, due to age or medical conditions.

However if you have a local history query with which we may be able to help, please contact us on email@calneheritage.co.uk or ring Sue Boddington on 01380 828851.

Winter Closing 2019

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Art Exhibition and Sale.

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A display of the work of local people who create art for a hobby rather than a living.

Where: Calne Heritage Centre.
When: 6th to 24th November 2019.
Opening hours: 10.00-4.00 Wed-Sat. 2.00-4.00 Sunday.
Cost: Admission Free.