Postcards from the home front

'Communities are shaped by the people who come in and out of them and Preston has some very rich stories.'

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 11:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 11:57 am
The Postcards to Preston exhibition in the Harris

That’s what artist Laura Jamieson discovered after receiving hundreds of responses to her Postcards to Preston project.

Almost 2,000 of the pieces of art were created to be sent to the last known addresses of men who died in the First World War, who are remembered on the Harris Roll of Honour.

Householders were asked to write back to Laura to see what the same neighbourhoods look like today, and the postcards are now on display in an exhibition at the Harris.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Laura Jamieson, the artist behind the Postcards to Preston project

Laura, who posted the cards throughout February, said: “Half of them were never sent out because the houses don’t exist any more, so they are part of the exhibition.

“As part of the exhibition, there are replicas of the ones that were sent out, so there are 1,956.

“Since then, people have been sending things back to me and I had a much better response than I had anticipated.

“People have shared lovely stories, how their parents came here in the Second World War, how their babies were born in the house, one told me how they lost a baby in the house.

The Postcards to Preston book, created by Laura Jamieson

“People have told me very personal stories.”

The postcards and responses will be on display in the stairway of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, next to the Roll of Honour, until July 16.

Laura said: “I’ve produced a book about the project, and if people have responded to me they can come and get a free book, called 1,956 Postcards to Preston. People have been coming in as I’ve been putting it up and telling me stories.”

Laura was inspired to start the project by the original forms in the Harris collection, that family members filled in to request their loved ones’ names be included on the memorial.

The Postcards to Preston exhibition in the Harris

She said they gave a glimpse into what life in Preston was like 100 years ago, and how the men were part of a bigger community. The work was designed to share the “secret history” with people who live in the homes today.

Laura said: “I have been very touched by the replies people have sent back. There are some wonderful stories from babies born in the houses, to families who moved to Preston from Ukranian Displaced Person Camps in Germany, and even one house that has been owned by the same family since the 1800s. Communities are shaped by the people who come in and out of them and Preston has some very rich stories that have been fascinating to document.”

Laura Jamieson, the artist behind the Postcards to Preston project
The Postcards to Preston book, created by Laura Jamieson
The Postcards to Preston exhibition in the Harris