Quaker Service Exhibition at Ely Cathedral

Quaker Service Exhibition at Ely Cathedral

This exhibition is organised by Cambridge Quakers.

It shows what Quakers were moved to do during the First World War. Quakers first declared, publicly, their refusal to take part in armed conflict in the 17th century. Although some joined the army in 1914 and 1915, the majority maintained their position against all armed conflict.

This was not a negative decision. Instead of fighting, Quakers decided to engage in relief work for all those injured in the war, regardless of nationality. They were not the only church involved in such work. Their idea was to show that those who do not fight can, nevertheless, do humanitarian work. They soon established the Friends War Victim Relief Service and the Friends Ambulance Unit.

The exhibition will be on show in Ely Cathedral for the month of August 2014, and is available for touring to anywhere else where there is a demand. There are also accompanying materials for use with schools and young people. We want to show that not everyone was behind the war effort, and that those who opposed it were prepared to take similar risks trying to save lives rather than take them.T

This exhibition has been researched and put together by staff in the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester.

The exhibition and resource pack for schools uses the experience and records of Quakers, both during war and in the aftermath of war, to explore key elements of humanitarian work with refugees, pacifism and peace.

More details at


(Picture shows the new Quaker Service memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.)