The Home Front in St Albans during the First World War

There are many individuals and groups throughout the country researching the histories of the men whose names appear on local war memorials. While recognising the importance of this work, the Society took a different route. This was the 'St Albans Home Front Project'.

Starting in February 2013, the twenty-one members in our group spent many hours considering the effect of the First World War on the social and economic development of St Albans. A further eight members prepared for analysis a transcription of the 1911 census for the local area, a significant piece of work in its own right.

Few if any people in the city were unaffected by the war. The longer it went on, the worse their conditions became. By answering questions such as the following, our objective was to tell what was then a largely an untold story.

  • How did the locals cope with having over 7000 soldiers billeted in and around the city from the autumn of 1914?
  • Who had a ‘good’ war?
  • How were unenlisted men and conscientious objectors treated?
  • In what ways did the city commemorate the war, both during and after it?
  • What was the impact of the 1918 influenza epidemic?

We published a book, St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-1918, about our findings in September 2016.

During the research phase of the project we provided updates not only to Society members but to others throughout the area using local newspapers and radio as well as this website and other Internet-based methods. Our sell-out 1914/15 conference, held in September 2014, was the highlight of our project at that point.

We are still keen to hear from anyone who has items such as letters, photos or journals relating to ancestors who had links to St Albans during the war. Email