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Watching and waiting: a story from the First World War

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 3
  • Subjects: English, History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Museum of Liverpool
  • Free


Hear the true story of one couple's experience of home and battle front in the First World War in this performance based session.

This session can be booked on selected Mondays.

Further details

man dressed in wartime clothing reading a newspaper by an old fashioned radio

The performance gives students the opportunity to hear the true story of one couple's experience of home and battle front in the First World War using letters as a primary source. 

Fred and Grace wrote more than 2000 letters to one another which cover the period before Fred enlisted until the end of the war. Fred was awarded three Military crosses, gassed, blinded and sent over the top at the Somme. His battle front experiences contrast with Grace’s life on the home front where she focused her support for Fred.

The performance begins with meeting Fred, who was from Great Crosby, at the outbreak of the Second World War at the family holiday home. Contemplating another war and the possible involvement of his two eldest sons, Fred reminisces on his own experiences during the First World War.

Students are then encouraged to ask our experienced performer questions.

Real and replica First World War objects are then handled including medals, propaganda material, items of uniform and trench ointments. Students consider and discuss what these objects tell them about the First World War.

Groups may also like to visit the following:

  • From waterfront to Western front exhibition - Discover how the war affected not only those serving at the Front, but also the city, and the people left behind in this special exhibition.
  • The City Soldiers gallery on the first floor which tells the story of the King's Regiment - one of Britain's oldest regiments, created in 1685, and Liverpool's regiment since 1881. It is a story of full time professional soldiers and part time volunteers, family life and ceremony.  Visitors can also try on hats and helmets, listen to a soldier's own words and research their own military family history.

Curriculum links


  • A local history study.
  • Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day.

English - Spoken English

  • speak confidently and effectively, through using standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • understand the wider implications of letter writing during wartime (for example as means of communication, courtship, developing a relationship, uplifting).
  • learn about the impact of war on Liverpool and Britain.
  • Understand some of the hardships suffered by soldiers and civilians during and after the war.
  • Understand how recruitment was carried out and the significance of propaganda to this.


  • interpret objects and use this information to discuss war.
  • improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.


  • grasp the wider implication of letter writing during wartime.
  • consider the national and international impact of the First World War on people and places.


  • appreciate the difficulties experienced by people at home and on the battlefront during the First World War.
  • empathise with people in the past.
  • appreciate that the Museum of Liverpool is an enjoyable place to visit.