National Lottery support for East Oxford First World War Hidden Heritage

St Stephen’s House, an Anglican theological foundation and Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford, announced on 26th June that it has received a £10,000 National Lottery grant, awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to undertake a project about the First World War heritage of the former monastic site on which it is based.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, this new project – ‘Wartime at an Oxfordshire Monastery’ – will focus on key figures within the local community, and the role that they played in wartime Oxford.

Marking the Centenary of the First World War, it will involve local schoolchildren and the wider community around the College’s East Oxford site in exploring and uncovering the rich history associated with the former monastery.

SJE Arts, the College’s concert and arts venue based in the College church on the Iffley Road, will form the hub for the project, hosting an Open Day on Sunday 10th September (2– 5pm) to encourage people to share photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.

With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an online interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The National Lottery funded project will also result in a self-guided tour of a series of paintings in SJE Arts, which were commissioned to commemorate the end of the First World War.

St Stephen’s House Director of Development, Rachel Makari, will oversee the project, with academics Dr Annie Skinner and Dr Serenhedd James leading the research. It is hoped that volunteers from across Oxford and the wider area will also be involved, leading their own ‘micro research projects’.

Rachel Makari commented: “The support from the National Lottery is a real boost to the ongoing work of preserving this magnificent site and opening it up to be enjoyed in new ways by the local and wider community.

“Many people already know and visit the concert venue SJE Arts here at the College, which hosts over 100 concerts each year now, but many are not aware of the full depth of history associated with the site. Through this project, we hope to change that.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “We’re delighted that we can support St Stephen’s House to explore this unique aspect of local life during the First World War. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will involve the community in preserving the monastery’s valuable heritage for future generations and marking next year’s momentous Centenary.”

How to get involved

Open Day: An Open Day will take place on Sunday 10th September 2017 between 2 – 5pm at SJE Arts, 109a Iffley Road, Oxford, OX4 1EH. All welcome.

Take part: If you would like to participate in the project, or would like more information, please contact: Annie Skinner:

More information: Rachel Makari, Director of Development, St Stephen’s House, / Tel: +44 (0)1865 610489

National Lottery support for East Oxford First World War Hidden Heritage