Experience life in the First World War virtually at Skipton library

Skipton library will team up with the BBC to commemorate the end of the First World War on Saturday.

image from Nothing to be Written

For the first time, virtual reality will be seen at Skipton library in a new work, Nothing to be Written, by composer Anna Meredith and 59 Productions and produced by the BBC VR hub.

The BBC VR Hub has lent Skipton library two Oculus Go headsets so people can explore what life was like in the First World War through this innovative production. Nothing to be Written is a seven-minute immersive experience inspired by one of the First World War’s main methods of communication, the field postcard.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “More than 300,000 censored letters were sent each day from the front lines during the height of the war. Censorship meant that soldiers had few ways to correspond regularly with loved ones at home. Field postcards offered the chance to communicate quickly their status, but at the cost of detail.”

Stock phrases like “I am quite well”, “I have been admitted into hospital” and “I have received no letter from you” were the only regular link between families at home and soldiers on the frontline.

Premiered at the BBC Proms this year, Nothing to be Written takes the viewer on an emotive journey, making them the protagonist. The piece merges hallways across the country with families and friends waiting quietly for news with the unrestrained violence of the trenches. An image of a field postcard remains the central thread.

Composer Anna Meredith said: “I’m totally delighted with 59 Productions’ beautiful storytelling in Nothing to be Written. To me it mirrors the music I wrote by allowing you to experience the texture both at a distance or really zooming into the detail of the Field Postcards and the stories they tell beyond the prescribed text.”

Skipton library’s BBC VR pop-up hub will take place on Saturday, 10 November, from 10.30am to 1pm. The event is free and there is no need to book.

This story was published 7 November 2018