1917- Empire at War: a Summer of Social Change and Passchendaele 100

In partnership with The Royal British Legion, the National Memorial Arboretum is commemorating the Centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and investigating the social change which occurred as a result of the Empire at War.

Also known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Passchendaele was known for the treacherous muddy conditions which took its toll on morale and lengthened the time it took for the Allies to recapture the village of Passchendaele.  British casualties were estimated at around 270,000.

Whilst this 1917 summer/ autumn offensive was taking place in Europe, Britain was engulfed in much social change. Women maintained the economy by leaving families at home and taking jobs in factories and on farms as conscription sent more young men off to war. This newly found independence, in part, fueled the rise in the women's suffrage movement and the way families 'operated' on a day-to-day basis.

Alongside this massive social shift were families struggling to cope with loved ones at war, fathers who were missing, sons who had been killed and returning soldiers with life-changing injuries that would forever affect family life, standards of living and the way society would engage with them. Propaganda was widely prevalent, spy fever growing, but patriotism higher than ever.

Join us this summer to commemorate those who fought during the Battle of Passchendaele and to understand the wider social impact while the Empire was at war.   


Battle of Passchendaele Service of Remembrance

Monday 31 July

Join us in Heroes' Square to remember those who fought 100 years ago. With music, readings and a military band. After our service, there will be a televised live-link to Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium for the International Service of Remembrance.


FREE. Donations appreciated.   

Find out more...



Saturday 5 August.

Join us on this summer's evening to enjoy uplifting and morale-boosting performances from the Band of the King's Division. Drama will be provided from the Central Youth Theatre and fireworks will conclude the evening.

Doors open at 7pm.

Booking Essential. 


Passchendaele 100 Guided Walks

Every Sunday  
Join one of our expert guides on a tour of our site to hear about some of the memorials linked to the Battle of Passchendaele.                    

10:30am and 2:30pm

£3 per person. Book Now.

 Above Ground Trench Installation


WWI Children's Explorer Back Packs

15 July - 12 November

Our children's back packs are full of gadgets and tools to help you explore our WWI memorials and learn more about life on the front line.  Read a Tommy’s postcards to home and use the periscope to look for advancing troops from our WWI trench. 

£2.50 + £5 returnable deposit.



WWI Replica Trench

24 June - 12 November

Visit our above-ground replica trench to explore the living and working conditions of the soldiers who fought in WWI. Our extended and 'dressed' officers' dugout, soldiers' mail box and 'Dugout Distance Tracker' are all NEW for 2017.     

Costumed interpreters will be in the trench on various dates throughout the summer.

FREE. Donations appreciated.





26 and 27 September

Through a series of workshops and seminars, this two day international symposium provides an in-depth look at the changes wrought by the first total war.  With guest speakers from a wide range of universities and heritage institutions, we aim to shine a spotlight on the previously untold stories of World War I, looking at the role of the Empire and Women at War.

Book Now



Heartfelt messages visitor art project

22 July - 12 November

Following the completion of the hugely successful Somme: En Masse artwork that was created for our 2016 Somme 100 programme (recently nominated for a Museums and Heritage Award for Best Temporary Exhibition), we will host another large-scale artistic installation looking at the Battle of Passchendaele and how those on the front line communicated with their friends and families back home. This participative artwork will be an exciting opportunity for visitors to contribute towards the development of a large-scale creation which will be seen by thousands of people.

Daily 10am - 4pm

FREE. Donations appreciated.  


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National Memorial Arboretum
National Memorial Arboretum
National Memorial Arboretum
National Memorial Arboretum
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