I’m tucked up all cosy in a converted barn near Barnard Castle for a long weekend, I return to my native North West tomorrow.  My life is blessed, I feel confident to make plans about weekends, nights out, Christmas, birthdays etc.  A few weeks ago I was reminded that the confidence to make plans is a luxury we take for granted.  A sobering thought from British women during the second World War “We didn’t make plans because we were convinced we were going to die”.  At the beginning of October was invited to check out the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester and the activities they had planned for October Half Term.  Embarrassing confession time – I had never been, I had no idea where or what it was.  So, we went! 

I have now been!  I now know, its in The Quays on the Trafford side, the other side of the water to The Lowry here’s a map.  I would describe it as a museum documenting War and the impact war has on life, times and styles.  It isn’t just Historical War of days gone by either, modern day conflict including 11th September attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Lil H and Diva G, enjoyed the space, they are 4.5yo and 2yo they run about and this was not a problem.  The scents of war exhibit created lots of shrieking of “Poo-ee” – was it socks, gun powder or mustard gas?  Then there was trying out camouflage – Diva G proved particularly talented at this – can you see her?!  Our very own Ewok in training!


Crafting rations in the arts session was popular with them both and the real tank in the car park was a big hit with them both on the way in and the way out too.


I found a car destroyed in the bombing of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in Baghdad eerie, shocking and fascinating.

Baghdad -car

I am always drawn to featured remembering 9/11 and this exhibition has as a centre piece a huge section of steel, 7 metres in height and weighing more than a tonne recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. 


Its been said many times that you know you’re in a bad situation if Katie Adie is there.  This reality is highlighted by the fabulous War Correspondent “Reporting under fire” Exhibition.  I could have spent longer in there.


The gift shop saw me tick off the Great Grandparents Christmas gifts with spectacular originality.  The restaurant / cafe / coffee shop is also worthy of high praise indeed for genuinely great quality food. 

The Imperial War Museum North is free to enter and open seven days a week 10am – 5pm.  There is a host of activities going on the October half term – ration / grow your own veg themed activities, including arts, crafts and music.  Learn why carrots were eaten on lolly sticks and parsnips were used instead of pineapple during the second world war.  For full details of the half term family activities running from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th October 2011 at the Imperial War Museum North click here

Imperial War Museum – related links
Website:  http://north.iwm.org.uk/ 
Twitter:  @I_W_M
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/iwm.north