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The Home Front: Life in Britain

What was life like in Britain during the First World War?

This was the first conflict in which the daily lives of civilians were affected - many people faced dangerous and challenging situations.

Presentation + Life Stories + Activity = Your Lesson!

Introductory Presentation

Use this ready-made PowerPoint to introduce Lives of the First World War to your class.

Download (14MB)
Choose your Life Stories

Pick Life Stories to investigate and download the Powerpoint containing primary sources relating to that person.

Life Stories
Follow the Activity

Take a look at our suggested activities to try with your class, as well as other IWM resources that relate to the theme.

Next step

Use Lives of the First World War to research names on your local war memorial - this could be a school memorial to former pupils, or a town or community monument.

Create a Community

Recommended Life Stories

We have selected Life Stories connected to this theme. Download the pack of sources connected to the Life Story.

Photo of Dorothy Prince Brown

Dorothy Prince Brown

Dorothy Brown was a munitions worker who died in an accidental explosion

Download Pack
Photo of William Harrison

William Harrison

William was a conscientious objector who was imprisoned in Newcastle and London

Download Pack
Photo of Beatrice Bennett

Beatrice Bennett

Beatrice was a member of the Women's Land Army in West Sussex

Download Pack
Photo of William Halse Rivers Rivers

William Halse Rivers Rivers

William treated 'shell shock' patients at Craiglockhart Hosptial, including poet Siegfried Sassoon

Download Pack
Photo of Emma Wenceslia Watkins

Emma Wenceslia Watkins

Emma was a teacher at a school which was bombed during an air raid over London

Download Pack
Photo of William Leefe Robinson

William Leefe Robinson

William earned a Victoria Cross for shooting down a Zeppelin airship over Hertfordshire

Download Pack

Suggested Activities

1. Use the facts, images, evidence and stories on Life Story pages to compare and contrast individual experiences - think about similarities and differences between these people’s lives.

  • What was their experience of the Home Front?
  • What are the key themes in their stories? Consider concepts such as identity, separation, friendship, love, bravery and loss.


2. Study one of the sources in detail. When was it written, and for what purpose? What does it tell you about the person’s Life Story? Pick out details about their age, background and family. How does this information relate to their wartime experiences?


3. Create a mini exhibition based on one person’s story. Select three sources from the person’s Life Story page, and create a title and theme for the exhibition.

4. Encourage creative responses inspired by a Life Story, such as poetry, letters, art, drama, music, or dance.

Activity Resources

Supported by

The Charles Skey Charitable Trust


We really enjoyed using Lives of the First World War ... the student feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

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Help IWM piece together the Life Stories of over 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front during the First World War.

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