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Pulham commemorates WWI airship heritage

Pulham St Mary, Norfolk. exhibition about the airships stationed at Pulham St Mary pictured from left Walter Pipe, Zoe Clarke, Kath Jones, Brian Carr and Katie Andrew ANL-141005-205248009

Pulham St Mary, Norfolk. exhibition about the airships stationed at Pulham St Mary pictured from left Walter Pipe, Zoe Clarke, Kath Jones, Brian Carr and Katie Andrew ANL-141005-205248009

Pulham St Mary celebrated its cherished history with the airship squadrons of the First World War at the weekend.

Hundreds turned out from as far as Birmingham, Lincoln and London to the airship festival at the Pennoyer Centre, where they enriched their knowledge of the so-called ‘Pulham Pigs’ and the thousands of servicemen and women who worked in them during the war.

“The turnout was absolutely fantastic,” said Sheila Moss King, chairman of the Pennoyer Centre.

“It is amazing to see the spread and level of interest, and the sheer number of people who have family connections to these airships.”

The ‘Pigs and People’ exhibition shed light on several relative unknowns about the airships, including a new version of the station map where approximately 5,000 people were located during the war.

This exhibit provided insight into the infrastructure of Pulham St Mary during the early 20th Century and its contrast with the modern day.

In addition, there were also four talks across the two days of the festival from airship experts such as Brian Turpin and Nick Walmsley, which gleamed such popularity that they “could have been done twice over and still sold out.”

Many attendees at the event brought their airship photographs and memorabilia from the WWI era, including one woman who provided a unique collection from her father’s time as an airship squadron leader, later used in one of the expert talks.

Mrs King stated that following high levels of interest, the Pennoyer Centre was now looking to acquire further funding for the airship exhibition materials, in order to make them more readily available to the public.

“The trustees are very passionate about everyone getting to see the exhibits whenever they can, rather than just at festivals,” she said.

“75 per cent of museums and heritage sites have their materials kept in storage and we definitely don’t want to fall into that category, but there has been huge support.

“A lot of people have personal connections and it draws interest from a very large area.”

The ‘Pulham Pigs’ exhibits will next be on display during the Heritage Open Days, currently scheduled to take place over the second weekend of September.

 

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