Great War photo exhibition at Guildhall focuses on global nature of conflict

The City of London Corporation will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War with Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: 1918 – 2018, an open air exhibition that highlights the global nature of the conflict.

Michael St Maur Sheil’s third and final First World War-themed photographic display in Guildhall Yard, the historic site of London’s Roman Amphitheatre, will pay tribute to those who contributed to the war effort.

Sheil’s large-scale photographs of battlegrounds of the First World War, including those in Africa, the Middle East, and the Eastern Front, capture how time and nature have healed the scars of war.

The exhibition, which opens on 30 April, is sponsored by Ashford Borough Council and supported by the City of London Corporation.

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“When Michael St Maur Sheil presented the first two exhibitions in Guildhall Yard, his beautiful and strangely haunting photographs captivated visitors.

“I am sure that this third and final display in Guildhall’s historic courtyard will be equally popular and powerful.

“As we look back in this centenary year, it feels entirely appropriate to be reminded of those terrible events, the huge number of people killed and injured, and that the First World War was a truly global armed conflict.”

Cllr Stephen Dehnel, Ashford Borough Council’s Member Champion for the Military Covenant & Ceremonial Liaison, said:

“Ashford Borough Council is proud to sponsor this evocative exhibition, which is a poignant tribute to all those who fought in the First World War or worked in support.

“The borough of Ashford, Kent has a rich heritage and strong links to the First World War.

“It is important we acknowledge and commemorate the sacrifices of the millions of people who died or were injured – and all those who were left behind.

“We are honoured to be part of the programme and we look forward to hosting the exhibition in Ashford in June.”

Photographer Michael St Maur Sheil said:

“Many people in the UK don’t realise how many countries were involved in the conflict, so I hope that this ‘Fields of Battle’ exhibition will encourage people to reflect on the meaning of the word ‘world’ in ‘First World War’.

“We should appreciate that people from over 50 nations around the world were involved in the Great War and that, in the same way that we did in this country, they made enormous sacrifices, suffered losses, and felt the impact.”

As part of the exhibition, a free guided walk will enable people to walk in the footsteps of the City’s men and women who went off to the Great War, and learn how the City coped with the subsequent loss and tragedy.

The City’s Great War Heroes will tell the story of the first ‘Pals Battalion’, where Stockbrokers, Bankers and Clerks, fought and died together, as well as the youngest Victoria Cross medal recipient, and one of the oldest soldiers to be killed in battle.

The walk will start from Bishopsgate (EC2 7PY) every Monday and Saturday at 11am and 2pm from 30 April to 28 May, with an extra walk at 1.30pm on 28 May.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Guildhall Yard, invests over £100m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds.

It is the UK’s largest funder of cultural activities after the government, the BBC, and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years.

This includes £110m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £2.5m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: 1918 - 2018 runs from 30 April to 28 May in Guildhall Yard, EC2. Admission FREE.


Notes to editors:

Michael St Maur Sheil and Graham Packham are available for media interviews. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below for details).

For further information and images, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mob: 07795 333060 / Email

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.