A KEIGHLEY museum is shining a light on what life was like in the town during the First World War.

Keighley’s War will run at Cliffe Castle Museum until November – the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Rather than just focusing on those who fought in the war, the exhibition shows how the conflict affected every aspect of life in the town.

It features photographs, art, clothing and uniforms, letters, medals and numerous artefacts, and has been arranged in association with Men of Worth, a group set up to research local war heroes, Keighley Local Studies Library and artist Deborah Rehmat.

Toys created for the children of serving soldiers, letters to loved ones from the front line, poetry written by soldiers and trinkets from the time are all on display as part of the exhibition.

Heather Millard, a curator for Bradford Museums, said: “The Men of Worth group did a lot of research and put together the backgrounds of a lot of the men featured in this exhibition.

“There are fundraising flags that were sold by charities to help support the war. And there are ‘death pennies’ which were given to the families of soldiers from the Commonwealth who died in the war.”

The former owner of Cliffe Castle, Frederick Butterfield, was Mayor of Keighley in the later years of the war, and Mrs Millard said: “It seemed to make sense that we have this exhibition on the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

“Our summer exhibitions normally finish a bit earlier in the year, but we were really keen to go a bit later to have it coincide with the anniversary of the end of the war.”

Keighley’s War runs until November 18.

The exhibition has been curated by Kirsty Young, and Mrs Millard said: “She has done a fantastic job in bringing all the different stories of Keighley during the war together. It looks at how it affected all aspects of life in Keighley at the time.

“There was a major push at the time on how to save flour, and Keighley was particularly successful at this, beating Portsmouth in a contest. There are lots of quirky stories like that in the exhibition.

“A lot of war exhibitions focus on the soldiers.

“There is some of that, but most of it is focusing on how it impacted on the entire town of Keighley.”

As part of the exhibition, Cliffe Castle is also hosting the ‘Field of Poppies’ that has been on display at museums across the district since 2014.

The installation, made up of hundreds of textile poppies, was created by nine groups of older people from across the district to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the First World War.

It was first unveiled at Bradford Industrial Museum in 2014, and since then has been on display at a different museum each year.

It is now the turn of Cliffe Castle, and the piece has been installed at the castle around the marble statue – Minstrel’s Curse – in the Bracewell Smith Hall, to create a striking contrast of blood red and marble white.

Although sculpted decades before the war, the museum staff felt that its theme, of a man mourning the death of a younger man, was suitably reflective of the losses felt during the war.

Mrs Millard added: “This has been in different museums, and Cliffe Castle is the final stop for it as part of the 100 year anniversary events. It fits in well, because it is the statue of an older man mourning dying youth.”

Later this month the museum will expand its First World War exhibits by displaying work by Percy John Smith. The artist was born in 1882 in Dulwich, South London. His service with the Royal Marine Artillery between 1916-1919 took him to the Western Front in France and later to Belgium. From these experiences he produced memorable sketches of war-ravaged countryside, death and destruction.

He also had local links – having an interest in the works of Emily Bronte, he visited Haworth several times after the war and the Yorkshire landscape would provide a peace and solitude that was a refreshing contrast to the brutality and ugliness of war.

War and Peace: the art of Percy Smith will open in Cliffe Castle on Saturday, June 16, and compares and contrasts the striking Dance of Death series and its depiction of war, with later Haworth-focused work exploring the landscapes that inspired the Brontes.

The museum will host a Craft at the Castle market on Sunday from 11am to 4pm.