Department for Culture Media and Sport

first world war centenary

The UK will mark the centenary of the start of the First World War (WW1) in 2014.

DCMS is the lead Government department preparing for this commemoration. We are working closely with Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Imperial War Museums (IWM), but the project will encompass support for a multitude of other initiatives, large and small, as they come together in the months and years to come.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller will chair an expert advisory panel to oversee the programme and ensure that the centenary plans are delivered. The panel, which will be made up of unremunerated senior figures, will offer independent oversight of the UK’s preparations for the centenary, a link with institutions beyond government and the encouragement of private giving to centenary-related initiatives.

The four-year programme will include:

  • National commemorative events to mark anniversaries of significant dates, such as the start of WW1 in 2014, the first day of the Battle of the Somme (2016) and Armistice Day (2018). 
  • The £35 million refurbishment of the WW1 galleries at IWM London, which will reopen in 2014
  • A £5.3 million education programme, jointly funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will allow pupils and teachers from every maintained secondary school in England the chance to go on a tour of the great battlefields. 
  • At least £15 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, including a new £6 million community projects fund to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War.
  • A grant of up to £1million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to support HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship from the First World War fleet.

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