Welcome to the world of Trench Art. This site is about the trench art of the Great War, particularly pieces in the North East of England, the area covered by the historic counties of Northumberland and Durham.

Trench art is the recycled stuff of war.

It can embrace any item of conflict matériel that has been converted into another form, which may be decorative or functional. Much dates from the First World War though the genre may predate that conflict by decades or even centuries. Within the British Army it had become a popular art form by the Boer War (1899-1902) and acquired by all ranks, perhaps expanding the much more ancient sea-faring tradition of scrimshaw, the carving of animal bone.

Auckland 9 - Copy

A decorated shell case, its story lost, now in St Andrews Church, Auckland.


Newcastle University, in collaboration with the Beamish Museum, is undertaking a detailed study of the region’s trench art. Working towards a better understanding of the origins of First World War trench art, we are asking why and how these artefacts might have been acquired and distributed. We also want to assess how they have subsequently acted as household objects over the past century and how they are impacting on the war’s centenary and beyond.

If you have a piece of trench art connected to the North East of England and would like to have it included in our research please contact us at ntrench@ncl.ac.uk





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