For a taste of what visitors can expect from Bourne Hall’s comprehensive exhibition exploring Epsom and Ewell during World War One, the museum’s curator, Jeremy Harte, has given the Epsom Guardian an insight into some of the interesting items on display. 

This week, he reveals the story behind a money box made from a potentially deadly bomb... 

"When the early troop movements of World War One settled down into trench warfare, it was clear that bombs would be needed to attack and defend position. 

"The smallest of these was the grenade, named from the French for ‘pomegranate’, and originally looking just like one. 

"Until 1915, with the arrival of the Mills bomb, many troops were relying on this simple design, unchanged for 200 years. 

"The iron casing was filled with powder, a fuse was lit, and it was thrown like a cricket ball. 

"If it went off, fragments scattered over 100 yards.  

"If it didn’t, perhaps because the fuse had been knocked off, the grenade was harmless. 

"This ball grenade never exploded, and was brought back home as a souvenir. 

"The father of the family turned it into something much more peaceful, a money box. 

"During the Great War there were many drives to get people to save for the war effort or war time funds. 

"Or maybe it was for children to save their pennies for treats - we will never know."

Bourne Hall’s exhibition, Epsom and Ewell in the Great War, will be on display at the museum, in Spring Street, Ewell, until December 31.

Dedicate a tree for £20 to someone who lived or served in the First World War. Call 0800 915 1914 or go to


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