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City’s wartime khaki links to be explored thanks to £10,000 lottery grant

Rachel Moaby with Sunny Bank Mills' khaki from the First World War. Picture: Giles Rocholl
Rachel Moaby with Sunny Bank Mills' khaki from the First World War. Picture: Giles Rocholl
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The story of how Leeds textile workers helped clothe soldiers on the battlefields of World War One will now be told after a £10,000 lottery grant was awarded to Sunny Bank Mills.

The project is inspired by reference books, called Guard books, which detail the cloth produced at the Farsley mills from 1829 to 2008. The books contain the narrative of cloth production by the prestigious worsted manufacturer, who produced the finest worsted cloth of its day.

To mark the centenary of the war, the project will enable local people to learn more about the importance of Farsley and its community during the Great War, and aims to develop opportunities for sharing and highlighting findings from the books. An exhibition will showcase the findings, including pop-up performances communicating workers’, Mill and community lives.

‘Threads of War: The Story of First World War Khaki’ will also include a programme of school workshops using artefacts to explore the role of children in Farsley during the War.

Sunny Bank Mills’ archive curator, Rachel Moaby, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the National Lottery. We have a unique collection of Guard books in the Archive which shed light on life in Farsley in WW1. We are so pleased that we are now able to share this with our community, delve deeper into it and introduce a wider audience to our heritage.”

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF has already invested more than £90million to more than 1,700 projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the Threads of War project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular.”