Empty Chair Display

3rd November 2018 — 11th November 2018

To commemorate the centenary of the end the end of World War One, the Daventry community came together to pay tribute to the 114 Daventry Soldiers who lost their lives, through the museum’s Empty Chair Project.

Empty Chair Display showing 114 empty chairs representing the 114 Daventry Soldiers named on the Daventry War Memorial

Model kits were distributed to 34 local schools and community groups who then built and decorated a chair to represent each soldier. 

The idea behind each empty chair was simple yet symbolic; those who did not return from the war to their families left an empty chair at home. The chair’s physical presence thus provided a reminder of a missing son, father, grandson, grandfather, brother, nephew or uncle, who would never return home.

The display which ran from 3rd to 11th November attracted 1329 visitors to the museum, which reflects just how much the soldiers’ sacrifice means to the Daventry community, 100 years on.

Just under half of the total visitor numbers to this display represent an entire primary school visit and an infant school visit from two Daventry schools.

Thanks must go to all the project participants, to the Museum Volunteers, and to those who contributed to the project, especially to Gerry Thompson, for giving his time and resources to help develop the project, free of charge. The kits for the chairs were made and donated by a local woodworker, with photos of Daventry soldiers donated by TRBL.

Following their display at the museum, the chairs were distributed to those who wished to remember a soldier, by promising to set an empty chair at their table on Remembrance Sunday.

The Museum and project participants were subsequently honoured by recognition at the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum Awards in 2019, receiving the ‘Community Award’ for the project.