They uncovered the vital roles played by women in the war effort, how families coped in the face of food shortages, hardship and the threat of aerial bombardment, and how Barnwell rolled its sleeves up and did its bit.
Accounts of the World War I experiences of Cambridge University undergraduates and dons are not difficult to unearth but narratives of the Barnwell working class, many of whom served their Varsity masters before signing up, have been all but ignored.
Barnwell at War reinstates the cultural memory of an area of Cambridge beyond the touristic gaze, and indicates a pattern of life for the majority of the UK population through an era of unparalleled trauma.
Researchers also sought to find out what became of the young men who played for the newly formed Abbey United Football Club in 1913/14, shortly before the outbreak of hostilities. They came very close to identifying those players; work in this area continues, with a possible breakthrough imminent.
Published by Lovely Bunch, Coconuts’ publishing operation, at £4.99 (£1 discount for CFU members), Barnwell at War is available through the CFU online store. It will soon also be available through the CFU caravan on match days, Cambridge booksellers and other outlets in the city.
The attractively designed booklet is illustrated by many seldom-seen photographs and features an introduction by Michael Hrebeniak, Coconuts committee member and Director of Studies in English at Wolfson.
Happy Harry's blog
I'm the living embodiment of the spirit of the U's, and I'll be blogging whenever I've got news for you, as long as I don't miss my tea.