05 April 2019

CWGC Experience Telling the Story

As the physical build of the CWGC’s new visitor centre nears completion, we take a look at what the centre will contain, and who is telling our story and how.

Mechanics at work 

Dr Lucy Kellett is the CWGC’s Heritage Interpretation Officer. She is responsible for telling the CWGC story to our visitors and is an expert in interpreting historic places.

“People visiting our sites are often struck by their stillness, tranquillity and order. What we want to show at The CWGC Experience is the specialist skills, hard work and dedication that go into making these beautiful and peaceful places of remembrance. What makes The CWGC Experience truly unique is that these are the real people, using the real methods that we have used from the outset.

“In telling the story of our work today, we wanted visitors to get an up-close-and-personal look at the CWGC and our staff.  Our free audio tour features the voices of our craftsmen explaining in their own words what they do and why it’s still important after 100 years. We also have displays demonstrating the variety and intricacy of our woodwork, metalwork and stonemasonry in cemeteries the world over – because this isn’t just a Western European story but a global one.

“Visitors will also be able to see some of the objects we have found when recovering remains in France to this day, and discover the clues they can give us about someone’s identity in preparation for reburying them with dignity in one of our cemeteries.

“Ours is a story like no other and we hope you’ll see a different side of the CWGC at Beaurains, making the experience of visiting our cemeteries that much richer.”

Dr Lucy Kellett

Andy Spencer is our graphic designer. He is leading on the look and feel of the centre.

“Designing for the CWGC can be a little daunting when one considers the artists and architects that the organisation has employed over its 100 year history. Like them, I strive for a refined, accessible design language that allows the incredible stories and messages to come across loud and clear.

“For The CWGC Experience at Beaurains I’ve taken inspiration from classic CWGC design elements, retaining a strong connection to the past, with subtle updates and twists, such as a bespoke cut of the CWGC font and some bold new colours that place the centre and its work firmly in the 21st century.

“The CWGC Experience is set to be a memorable visitor experience and it is an honour to work on it.”

The CWGC Experience will open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. 

Located just south of Arras, and only an hour from the channel ports, the centre will open in late June 2019 at The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 5-7 Rue Angele Richard, 62217 Beaurains, France. 

Visitors will take a self-guided tour, lasting approximately 45 minutes to an hour. A free audio guide will be available.

At various points on the tour, visitors can pause and see into the areas covering specific aspects of our work – be it headstone production, carpentry, our blacksmiths or maintenance teams –  before moving to one of the most moving elements of the tour – the recovery and reburial of the war dead.

To this day, there are on average, 40 discovery of World War remains each year. In France our staff play a vital role in that initial recovery process.

Back in the main reception area, visitors can pause, avail themselves of the facilities, visit the shop or search the CWGC’s records. Regular events will supplement the existing offering – encouraging visitors to come back time and again.

Entry to the CWGC Experience is free and free parking is provided for all vehicles with fewer than 12 seats.

We have limited parking for larger vehicles and 12 seaters and above must book in advance of their visit. A parking fee applies for larger vehicles. 

We look forward to welcoming you.