Heritage event to reveal life at Lofthouse Park internment camp

Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (� IWM Q56595)
Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (� IWM Q56595)
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A heritage event next month will explore a World War One internment camp for ‘enemy aliens’.

Time stood still for hundreds of Germans and Austrians during the war when they were interned at Lofthouse Park on the border of Wakefield and Leeds.

Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (� IWM Q56595)

Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (� IWM Q56595)

The park was transformed into an internment and prisoner-of-war camp for civilians and officers. It was part of a large British network of camps.

Now people from South Leeds, Rothwell, Lofthouse, Outwood and Wakefield can find out what went on in Lofthouse Park between 1900 and 1919.

A Heritage Open Day on Sunday, September 11 will feature historical documents, a mapping workshop, presentations and guided neighbourhood walks.

The event is part of a research project overseen by the University of Leeds called ‘In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time’.

Dr Claudia Sternberg, of the university’s Legacies of War centenary project, said: “We hope to bring to life the experiences of Lofthouse Park Camp, but would like to know much more about the local communities at the time – whether they had dealings with the camp or not.

“This Heritage Open Day is an opportunity for anyone to come and share knowledge, stories, and documents such as letters and photographs relating to the area at the time.”

The project, which is funded by the Centre for Hidden Histories, wants to hear from residents from Park Avenue, Park Square and Park View, or those working for Lofthouse’s civil engineering firm Peter Duffy Ltd who may have found objects that could be dated back to the time of the camp.

The free event is open to all and takes place at Lofthouse Gate Working Men’s Club on Canal Lane from 11am to 4pm on September 11.

There will also be walks led by independent historian David Stowe at 11.30am and 2pm.

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