Sunday 1st July sees the centenary of the Chilwell shell-filling factory explosion that claimed over 130 lives.
Many of those killed are buried in mass graves at St Mary’s Church in Attenborough. In the week leading up to the centenary, a series of events are being held at the church and around Chilwell, Beeston and Attenborough to commemorate the tragedy.
All events are free unless otherwise indicated. Some events require tickets because demand is expected to be high.
Weds 20 June 7.30pm
Talk: Prof John Beckett ‘The Chilwell explosion 1918 revisited’, Chilwell Memorial Hall, 129 High Road, Chilwell
Beeston & District Local History Society meeting
Mon 25 June to Sunday 1st July
Exhibition St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Mon 25 June 7pm
Talk: ‘Canary girls on film’, St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Maureen Rushton, author of The Canary Girls of Chilwell, tells the story of the factory and those who worked there. Rebecca Harding, Imperial War Museum, introduces rare contemporary film footage.
Tues 26 June 6.30pm
Walk: Chilwell Explosion Memorial Nature Trail, Attenborough Nature Centre, Barton Lane, Attenborough
Mike Spencer (Notts Wildlife Trust) leads a Nature Reserve walk.
Weds 27 June 6.30pm
Concert: Combined choirs, St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Including choirs from Chetwynd Primary Academy and George Spencer Academy as well as the Chilwell Military Wives Choir.
Thurs 28 June 2.30-4.30pm
Talk: James McCloskey ‘Chilwell, The Chetwynd Period – No 6 NSFF 1915 to 1918’ Chetwynd Barracks, Swiney Way, Toton
Includes photo opportunity near memorial. Ticketed but free. Arrive between 1.30pm and 2.00pm.*
Thurs 28 June 6.30pm
Walk: Historic stroll around Attenborough, starting at St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Prof John Beckett leads Beeston & District Civic Society walk – starting at St Mary’s Church.
Fri 29 June 7.30pm
Play: Swan Canaries – performed at the Chetwynd Barracks in a hangar close to the site of the explosion.
Arletty Theatre Company. Tickets £5. Arrive between 6.15pm and 7.00pm.*
Sat 30 June from 2pm
Family day: Period tea party, St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Jazz band, children’s activities. Period dress welcome. Church grounds.
Sat 30 June to Sun 1 July
Exhibition, Attenborough Nature Reserve Centre.
How local willow was used for transporting shells.
Sun 1 July 6.30pm
Special Commemoration Service, St Mary’s Church, Attenborough
Preceded by a short parade led by the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers and including a two-minute silence at 7.10pm, the time of the explosion. Ticketed but free. Please be seated by 6pm.
To secure tickets, contact St. Mary’s Church Office, 19 Church Lane, Attenborough (0115 925 4385) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* For events at Chetwynd Barracks, your first name and surname, address and post code and vehicle registration number are needed when booking. You will need to bring photo ID – driving licence, bus pass or passport – and arrive at the main gates well before the start time for document checking. Parking is available inside the barracks.