Walberswick Goes International

In our last post we wrote about a trip to Walberswick in Suffolk, which has been the subject of a project led by Dr Rob Liddiard on investigating the defences constructed along the Suffolk coastline in World War Two.

As a result of the success of the project, last year UEA was invited to become a partner in a major bid to the European Union for an umbrella project ‘The Heritage of the Second World War’ and this spring we received the welcome news that the application had been successful.

This secured over four million euros of match funding for a three-year project from the European Union’s Inter-Region IV Cross Border Co-operation Programme. There are ten partners in total, from four European countries (Belgium, France, Netherlands and the UK), with UEA teaming up with Suffolk and Essex county councils to promote the heritage of the Second World War as a resource for sustainable tourism.

Above: A well preserved section of the Atlantic Wall in Ostend, Belgium.

Key to the project is cross-country co-operation, with partner nations working together to form inter-linked sub-projects. So far this has involved familiarisation visits to the Netherlands and Belgium, with the European partners coming to Suffolk in 2012. In continental Europe, little is known about the efforts that went into fortifying the British coastline and so far many interesting comparisons have been made between Britain’s ‘Coastal Crust’ and the Atlantic Wall.

Above: A concrete artillery observation post, Vlissingen, Netherlands.

The funding will help sustain and promote all kinds of Second World War archaeology in the partner countries, ranging from capital investment in museums, to the creation of heritage trails and downloadable resources for walking and cycle routes. We will be posting more details about the project later in the year.

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Author: UEA Landscape History

Landscape historians based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia.

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