In a BBC radio broadcast at 3:00pm on 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that war in Europe was at an end following the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces on the previous day.
To mark the 75th anniversary of this momentous day in British history, Hampshire Cultural Trust is hosting a range of VE Day themed activities, articles, exhibitions and reminiscences on its digital publication, Culture on Call.
In Hampshire Remembers, visitors to Culture on Call will be able to explore VE Day through emotive, real life testimonies from Hampshire residents who experienced World War II and VE Day first hand. A VE Day street party gallery will be available to view, with images from a number of archives showing residents from Basingstoke, Fareham and Eastleigh celebrating the end of the war on and after VE Day. Other features include an exhibition, Home Front Stories, evacuation testimonies and a serialised article on victory celebrations in Aldershot written by one of Aldershot Military Museum’s volunteers.
There are also activities designed to entertain and engage children with this key point in history, at a time when the majority of children across Hampshire are being home-schooled during the lockdown. Activities include crafts to prepare for a stay-at-home VE Day party and recipes for cooking on a ration.
The virtual VE Day commemorations have been put together by the trust’s team, who have been working remotely across the county to mark VE Day 75, and will be published on Culture on Call in the lead up to 8 May 2020, starting on Friday 1 May. Culture on Call was launched by Hampshire Cultural Trust to shine an online spotlight on the exhibitions, events and activities that would normally take place in its venues. As well as caring for 2.5 million objects that tell the story of the county’s past, the Hampshire charity operates 23 museums, galleries and arts centres, all of which are closed during the current lockdown.
Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive at Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented:
‘As an organisation, we celebrate Hampshire’s heritage and the commemoration of VE Day 75 was very firmly on the programme of events at our venues this May. Whilst we have been unable to run these events due to the lockdown, we have brought together a moving and powerful online commemoration on Culture on Call, with some incredible insights into the way that VE Day was celebrated across the county on 8 May 1945.’
In response to the coronavirus crisis, all Hampshire Cultural Trust venues were closed on 18 March and are likely to remain closed until 31 May.