Museums dedicated to Britain’s military past are relatively common and cover battles, regiments and vehicles. Less common however are those focused on the civilian experience of war. The Second World War was the first total war where the civilian population was just as much in danger as the military who protected them and the war crept into all aspects of life in a way not seen before or since with rationing, evacuation and regulations all part of everyday life. One museum that works to portray this experience to visitors is the Home Front Museum in Llandudno that myself and my family looked around a couple of weeks ago whilst on holiday. It was interesting to be able to go around with a wife who was not especially interested in the Second World War and two small children as it helped determine is the museum had pitched it correctly to appeal to the enthusiast like myself and the lay person who is not passionate about the subject.
The museum itself is located in the centre of the town on a small side street and thanks to the large A-Board outside the door it was easy to find. It is housed in a non-descript warehouse or light workshop type building which hides the wonders within rather well. On entering there is a small gift shop and ticket office and the entrance fee is a very reasonable £3.75 for adults or £10 for a family ticket. The museum is a series of vignettes depicting aspects of life on the home front from the domestic settings of a front room or a 1940s kitchen to the school room of an evacuee, a police man’s office or a warden’s post. Alongside these ‘rooms’ are a set of ‘shop windows’ which allow the display of hundreds of period items and there are plenty of fascinating objects to look at. Happily the use of ‘interactive’ computer screens and games is virtually nil, and the interactive elements are carefully thought out to entertain the young without dominating the displays. My son particularly liked the mores code key that operated a signalling lamp so he could try tapping out a message.
The museum has a recreated Anderson shelter and this is an ideal spot to sit down and soak up the atmosphere. There is so much to look at in the museum that it either warrants a few hours to slowly examine everything or multiple repeat visits to take it in. My wife and children all enjoyed the museum immensely which I took to be a good sign that the level was pitched correctly and although not the largest museum in the country it is very affordable and packed full of fascinating items to look at. Highly recommended and well worth a visit.
Details of the museum’s opening hours and prices can be found on their website here.