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Leisure & Culture

Tolkien Exhibition reveals how horrors of the Somme shaped Middle-Earth

Tolkien mannequin in uniform

Second Lieutenant J.R.R Tolkien trained for the Great War on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire before he was sent to France to fight in the Battle of the Somme. During his time in the trenches, where he served as a signals officer, Tolkien witnessed the use of machine-guns, flamethrowers and tanks for the first time in warfare. He saw the effects ...

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Charity launches to protect region’s rich past

Preserving the region’s heritage and helping people access their family history online is the role of a new organisation launched this month. Archives West Midlands has been formed to protect historical records for future generations to enjoy and is made up of universities, local authorities, cathedrals, businesses and over a dozen archive services. Providing increasing online access to rare collections, ...

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Rare Great War Somme diary uncovered

military group photo

A rare war diary detailing the first day of one of history’s bloodiest battles is to be published for the first time. 100 years ago on 1 July, a huge British offensive was launched in Northern France with the aim of breaking the deadlock of the trenches and setting in motion the end of World War I. For many, the ...

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Staffordshire to welcome ‘RideStaffs Festival 2016’

cyclists on grassland

People are being encouraged to get on their bike as the county gears up for this year’s RideStaffs Festival. Now in its 6th year, the event is the county’s biggest celebration of cycling and it returns to the Shugborough Estate for Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July. From kids and amateurs to some of the country’s top cyclists, it offers ...

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Funding boost for county’s arts organisations

dancers on stage

Two Staffordshire arts organisations are celebrating after securing grants for their community projects. “Live & Local” and “Hednesford in Partnership” have been granted a share of Staffordshire County Council’s Community Arts funding. The funding is available to Arts groups that bring high-quality activities and events to local communities while encouraging strong community spirit.  Both organisations will use the funding to ...

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Staffordshire set to commemorate Battle of the Somme


Staffordshire will be commemorating the historic Battle of the Somme with free screenings of the film made in its honour. Shire Hall Gallery and the Museum of Cannock Chase will be showing ‘The Battle of the Somme’ to mark the day of one of the Great War’s most decisive and bloody battles. The film was seen by 20 million people ...

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County teens to celebrate top reads at museum

SChoolchildren holding book

Young readers from across Staffordshire will gather in force at a top Midlands venue for the grand finale of their annual book award. The Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford will once again play host to Staffordshire’s Young Teen Fiction Award Celebration Day. The Young Teen Fiction Award, now in its twelfth year, is designed to encourage the county’s young people ...

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Tolkien in Staffordshire exhibition on the move

Tolkien mannequin in uniform

An exhibition celebrating the author of The Lord of the Rings’ links with Staffordshire begins a year-long tour across the region. This fascinating insight into the early years of one of the world’s best-loved writers, and his time spent in Staffordshire, has already been seen by almost 4,000 visitors during its stay at the Museum of Cannock Chase. “J.R.R. Tolkien ...

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Crowds brave weather to cheer on IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire competitors


Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits as hundreds of spectators cheered on competitors in Staffordshire’s second ever IRONMAN competition.   Communities across Staffordshire came out to offer their support along the route, which saw over 2000 people complete a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run through stunning Staffordshire countryside. The day started off at Chasewater, where ...

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Parish maps to lift the lid on life in Staffordshire in the 1840s

Tixall Hall gate engraving

Selection of Tithe maps and associated images are available here. People interested in their local family and parish history will soon be able to access digitised images of a unique collection of historic parish maps. Tithe maps of the 1840s are often the earliest detailed maps of parishes, showing houses, roads, footpaths, fields and woods etc. providing a snapshot of ...

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