Unique images of POW camps found

A unique collection of images from inside Prisoner of War camps between 1915-18 has been uncovered in the collection of Derby photographers WW Winter Ltd and will be curated into an exhibition thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project, called Behind the Barbed Wire – photographing World War One German Officers at Donington and Sutton Bonington [Kegworth] POW Camps, has been granted £10,000 by the National Lottery as part of the First World War Then and Now programme.

Project co-ordinator Jane Middleton-Smith, said: “The images are intriguing and unique and the fact that their importance has been recognised is wonderful. We cannot wait to get started.

“Volunteers will be working collaboratively on the research with colleagues from the University of Nottingham, who are very keen to discover the story of the Kegworth Camp, now the Sutton Bonington Campus.

“The project will touch on a sensitive and potentially often-overlooked aspect of the Home Front and will enable volunteers and people in the area to see the conflict through a different lens.”

The project, which begins this year and finishes next – 100 years after the prisoners were repatriated – will enable local people to study the photographs of the two camps and the prisoners through a series of four workshops.

The results of the research will be made public through a one-day symposium to be held at the Sutton Bonington campus in October, 2019, which will be accompanied by an exhibition and a small publication.

The WW Winter Heritage Trust came about as a result of the initiative to protect and preserve the amazing legacy of WW Winter Ltd and to make it available to the public. It also provides financial and volunteer support for the management of, and care for, the WW Winter Collection.

The Trust is in its infancy and this will be its first project. To date, volunteers have been involved in studio Open Days, research, and cataloguing the print/negative collection.

Winter’s can trace its origins back to 1852, making it  the oldest commercial photographic business in the East Midlands – if not the UK.  It has made the images available to the Heritage Trust for this project.