The Exhibition at The National Archives, Kew, until September 2016


I (WW) visited the National Archivers yesterday, as foretold in the recent issue of The Clove’s Lines, to visit the exhibition “Changing the Landscape” where the Great-Niece of BARNET GRIEW, an Old Grocer killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July, 1916, was showing parts of the archive left by the twenty-year old “Barney”.


Barney was a keen photographer who became a mapmaker (in that generation it was the practice to make maps recording dispositions and known intelligence before the battle) and scout for his unit of the 5th London Rifle Brigade.

His maps, illustrated letters and postcards, both from training locations (Epsom) and at the Front have survived for nearly 100 years, and this exhibition gives us a privileged glimpse of this talented young man’s life.


This is a MUST exhibition – not just for those interested in the First World War, nor for those interested in Family History – but a true window on the history of one Russian family, resettled here and deprived of one of their children by the cruelty of war.


“Changing the Landscape, an ambitious new visual arts project from British painter Sarah Kogan, is a profoundly personal and deeply poignant exploration of the cataclysmic destruction – physical, emotional and psychological, wrought by the First World War. Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Kogan has undertaken a journey to France to trace the footsteps of her great uncle Barney Griew, a map maker and scout, who died in the Battle of the Somme and whose extraordinary archive of letters, drawings, and photographic postcards are the inspiration behind the project. ”


I urge you to make a visit – the Exhibition is at the National Archives at Kew until September.   Admission is free.

Let me know how what you think after you have been.