A group of children outside St Pauls Parish Hall as they appeared in the patriotic tableau â€œBritanniaâ€™s Flagâ€ which scored a success in the hall on Empire Day and resulted in the sum of Â£4,5s (at least Â£257 in today’s money) being sent to the local fund for British Prisoners. They carry the Challenge Banner which was won by the group. The original image is fromÂ theÂ Hastings andÂ St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 1stÂ June, 1916.
Empire Day started to be celebrated for the first time on 24th May 1902. Although not officially recognised until 1916, the event was regularly held across the UK and abroad on the same day every year. The idea behind the day was toÂ â€œremind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.â€, and that â€œThe strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.â€ Â This message grew in importance during WW1 when patriotism was required to drive the war effort.
Empire Day naturally needed to change as the Empire changed and the celebration day changed to Commonwealth Day in 1958, and the day of celebration itself changed twice and is now the second Monday in March. For more information this site is a good read.
St Pauls Parish Hall is next to St Peters Church on Cornfield Road, Hastings and is named after theÂ the old church that used to be nearby, replaced by St Peters Church in 1883.
he two photographs used to create the image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
This image is part ofÂ a continuing series of Then and Now images Iâ€™ve created for East Sussex Councilâ€™sWorld War 1 commemoration website. The website is focussed on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.