CSI Stoke: The Science of the Great War

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Posted on 21 March 2017

Members of the public are invited to an interactive day of science, history and discovery at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 1st April.

CSI: The Science of the Great War, will bring together military experts, historians, scientists and forensic teams from Keele University, Staffordshire University and Stoke-on-Trent Archaeology Service to explore significant developments in science and technology over the past one hundred years.

The event showcases some of the scientific advancements during World War One which led to dramatic improvements in public health, lifestyle and economic security, and will provide visitors with a combination of hands on experience, interactive exhibits and expert talks.

Dr Jamie Pringle, Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Environmental Geosciences at Keele University said: “This free science event is focused on the Great War this year. Aimed from primary school-aged children up to the military enthusiast, there will be a host of activities planned from talks, take-home items to a replica biplane!”

Interactive Exhibits
Children can crawl through a replica tunnel, use microscopes to examine a range of insects which were the scourge of the common soldier (including lice, fleas and mosquitoes!) and
get involved with the battlefield detectives, using a metal detector to find metallic relicts from the Great War.

Visitors will be able to meet members of the 10th Essex Living History Society as they present a ‘Royal Flying Corps’ demonstration, together with a full-sized replica Nieuport 12 two seater biplane - a professionally constructed film prop which is the basis of ‘flight demonstrations’ of Reconnaissance flying over the Western Front in 1917.

There will also be a medical display with leading military historian and author Andrew Robertshaw, which will include a range of real and replica items related to the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

Explore your family history
The Military Ancestry Road Show panel invites you to bring along any medals, uniforms, photos, letters or war records from your family’s military past. This panel of experts can help you identify them, guide you to further sources of information and reveal what these items say about your family’s military history.

Also present will be members of the local branch of the Western Front Association. They will offer the public a search facility using the Soldiers Died database to find any ancestors who died in the war.

Expert Talks
11am - Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers in the Great War
This talk looks at the lives of over 100 writers, of all nationalities, who were directly involved in the war, and shows how varied their experiences were: not just fighting, but acting as doctors, ambulance drivers, nurses, spies and propagandists.

2pm - Arnold Bennett at the Front
In this special presentation Ray Johnson will relive the experiences of Bennett in a first person interpretation. Together with archive images and film, this talk will illustrate a personal account of the Great War through the eyes of the acclaimed author.

Councillor Terry Follows, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“This is a fantastic event with so many interesting hands-on activities and exhibitions taking place throughout the day. It’s great to have experts like Andrew Robertshaw and Ray Johnson involved who really engage with the audience and bring history to life and I hope to see many people coming through the museum’s doors on the day.”

For more details and a full list of activities taking place, see the CSI Stoke website 


The event is funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Saturday 1st April
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent