There is a special wedding on Saturday August 16 and everyone is invited to travel back in time to 1916.
The re-enactment takes place from 11am and throughout the day at Chester History and Heritage, St Michael’s Church in Bridge Street, where residents and visitors can experience what it would have been like in Chester on August 16 1916 with a flavour of life both at the Front and for those left at home.
Try a taste of trench tea, write a soldier’s letter and learn what item was most important to the boys on the front line and much more.
With a wartime wedding, music and songs, all brought to life with the WW1 re-enactment Group, Cheshire Pals, this event is part of the Great War Commemoration programme.
It was inspired by a photograph in the History and Heritage collection; it was on a lovely, sunny summer Monday in August 1916 that Elizabeth Barbara Ball married William Huxley at St Michael’s Church.
The photograph shows them posing outside their new home in Volunteer Street – a house that would be home to generations of the family for almost 100 years.
After her marriage Elizabeth took on a stall at Chester Market, renaming it E B Huxley’s – a sign that still shows on the family-run stall today.
Said Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy: “This is the latest of many events being held to commemorate the Great War.
“We are very grateful for the many fascinating stories, photographs and items that have been shared during the commemoration events held so far.”
Chester History and Heritage are also hosting four exhibitions relating to the Great War; Dulce Et Decorum Est , The Nurses Story, For Those in Peril and From Bombs to Bandages.
‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ uses images from the History and Heritage collection plus photographs and documents that were brought in to the WW1 road show last Autumn.
‘The Nurses Story’ was produced by Ann Marie Curtis from Backford, Mollington and District Local History Society and ‘For Those in Peril’ mainly uses images loaned by Mr & Mrs Lindop and Mr Harrison.
‘From Bombs to Bandages’ shows the patients and nurses from a Chester military hospital, taken from a unique donated photograph album.
The 1916 Wedding Story
It was on a lovely, sunny summer Monday in August 1916 that Elizabeth Barbara Ball married William Huxley at St Michael’s Church. The photograph shows them posing outside their new home in Volunteer Street – a house that would be home to generations of the family for almost 100 years.
Elizabeth was the daughter of Arthur and Elizabeth Ball from Pitt Street. Her father died when she was a young child and her mother started up a confectionery business in their terraced house, later renting out a stall in Chester Market. After her marriage Elizabeth Barbara took on the stall, renaming it E B Huxley’s – a sign that still shows on the family-run stall today. William was a mill hand at the flour-mill.
The photograph shows that although this is a working class family in the middle of wartime, efforts have been made to make the occasion special. The bouquets are lavish, with plentiful flowers used and the two bridesmaid’s outfits – although homemade – have been carefully designed and made up to match. The guests were probably family members, although there are some young women there who could have been friends of the bride, there are no young men – their absence explained by the War itself. William Huxley was exempt due to hearing difficulties.
The Wedding Breakfast would have been held in the front room of Volunteer Street and could have included potted meats, pickles, cold cuts of ham and brawn, egg sandwiches, tinned fruits, jellies and of course a wedding cake. There would be many cups of tea served and perhaps a few bottles of beer for the male guests – although this had become scarce as the War went on. Entertainment could have been provided by a piano or even perhaps a borrowed wind-up gramophone. Gifts would have mainly been items that were useful and practical for a newly married couple – household linens and towels, cutlery, crockery and simple cooking utensils. There may have been a cruet, glass serving bowls, pretty ornaments and lace table doilies.
Their eldest child, Marjorie, was born in the summer of 1917. Two more children followed – Betty in 1919 and Norman in 1926.