We had the opportunity to design and construct a trench system in the centre of London in September 2017. The idea was do create an interactive display highlighting the role of the Camouflage School that was constructed in Kensington Gardens in 1916.
Our designer, James Gage, come up with the goods once again and delivered an engaging environment for the local school children and community groups. The location was Kensington Gardens with a commanding view over the lake towards Kensington Palace.
It was in place between the 11th and 24th September with each Sunday opening for public viewing. During this period, we engaged with 375 school children and 99 members of the local community with over 500 members of the public. All in all we had over 1,000 visitors spread over two weeks.
The goal was to work with young people who had never studied the Great War before and also facilitate an enjoyable and interesting experience for people with dementia and learning disabilities.
Working in conjunction with the Royal Parks, Royal Parks Guild and the Heritage Lottery Fund we asked for volunteers to help with the construction and education. So fantastic was the response that the volunteers gave over 700 hours of their time for free.
Some of the community groups that visited the trench were the Chelsea Pensioners, Resonate Arts, Capital Arts, Dementia Awareness and even the Metropolitan Police (who came back about three times because they loved it so much).
We asked all our visitors to rate the experience and 70% said they learnt something new about the Great War and 80% said that they now see how Kensington Gardens played a pivotal role in developing camouflage techniques used on the Western Front.