Songs and Poems on YouTube

You can now watch all our project songs and poems on the Essex County Council YouTube account.

Have you had a listen to any of songs? Our project band included the very talented singer/songwriter Georgia Strand, guitarist Vo Fletcher and violinist Ric Sanders from Fairport Convention.

Here’s Poppies in the Rain.

And the wonderful Essex poet, Luke Wright can be seen performing his poems at Colchester Arts Centre. Here’s Bank Holiday, August 1914.

Showcase gallery

Have a look at some of the photos from the evening Showcase on 23rd March 2016, taken by my colleague Hannah Salisbury of the Essex Record Office.

We were hugely impressed by the range and quality of performers on the night, plus speeches from Essex County Council’s Cllr John Spence and Heritage Lottery Fund’s Karen Brookfield.

Thank you to all involved.

A film documenting the evening will be available on YouTube very soon. Watch this space…

Inter-school poetry competition winners!

Essex County Council’s Inter-School Poetry Competition

September this year saw launch of the first ever county-wide Inter-School Poetry Competition, organised by the Cultural Development Team at Essex County Council.

Pupils interested in representing their school were asked to submit a poem relating to the Great War to link in with the council’s First World War project – Now The Last Poppy Has Fallen, funded by a grant of £65,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the project has been be running since September 2013 and includes a touring exhibition, education sessions and two artists (singer/songwriter Georgia Strand and renowned poet Luke Wright) who were commissioned to write new material relating to impact of the war on Essex.

The council received over 35 entries from a number of different primary & secondary schools which were judged by Luke who picked out a winner for each year group along with an overall top three. Each top 10 winner will receive a prize of a £25 book voucher and each school in the top three with also receive a poetry workshop from Luke.

Greensted Junior School, Basildon, who were one of the Top 10 winners, with a Year 5 group entry, even made a short film of their entry, which can be viewed here:

Greensted Junior School on YouTube

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance, with responsibility for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, said: “Now the Last Poppy has Fallen focuses on the lives of individuals, families and communities in Essex during the First World War. We were really pleased to be able to involve so many young people in the project and were very impressed by the standard of entries. We were delighted with the response and pleased that so many schools took the time to engage with this competition given their busy schedules.”

Luke himself commented that there were “some lovely, accomplished stuff among the winners, especially the top three”. It is hoped that there will be a celebratory event for schools in the Spring Term where these poems will be showcased.

Winners included:

Other Top 10 winners were:

  • Cherry Tree Primary School – Bethany (Year 3)
  • Greensted Junior School – Group entry: Frankie Curran, Chevy Quirey, Tom Holland, Grace Collins, Ellie Morgan and Blaine Harding (Year 5)
  • Philip Morant School and College – Georgia Lockerbie (Year 11)
  • The Sweyne Park School – Anna Wilson (Year 8) and Lucy Wilkinson (Year 9)
  • Holt Farm Junior School – Elizabeth Ware (Year 4)
  • St Nicholas CofE Primary School – Ronnie (Year 2)

 Poems can be read on our Inter-Schools Poetry Competition Winners page

Luke’s 4th Poem, featuring Harwich

Luke Wright has completed and recorded his fourth original First World War poem for the project, entitled The King’s Head, Market Street, Harwich, 1917.

This latest poem encapsulates the tension in the air as the local young sailors prepare to leave and face the war that has taken it’s toll on their ‘brothers’.

You can listen to Luke read the poem here or read it in full on the poems‘ page.

 

Essex at War: On film

We are very pleased to present to you our film summary of the Essex at War event held at Hylands House, on Sunday 14th September 2014, created for us by Chris Church from Wire Frame Media. It features footage of the ‘Now the Last Poppy has Fallen’ exhibition launch.

With thanks to the Essex Record Office for hosting the film on their YouTube account.

You can also look at the photographs from the event.

Essex at War, 1914 – 1918: In pictures

Here’s a photo gallery (courtesy of photographer Paul Starr) of our Essex at War, 1914 – 1918 event, which took place at Hylands House on Sunday 14th September 2014.

Click on each photo to see them a little larger.

Essex at War programme

We are excited to share with you the Essex at War programme.

Don’t forget that it’s this Sunday, 14th September from 10am – 4pm, at Hylands House in Chelmsford.

Essex at War programme-page-001

 

The official exhibition launch is at 12:45 and will include performances from project artists Luke Wright, Georgia Strand and Vo Fletcher, with Ric Saunders. The exhibition will be opened by Lord Petre.

Included in the programme:

Luke Wright’s 2nd Poem

Doris Bardell nee Carter (courtesy of Michael Bardell)

Doris Bardell nee Carter (courtesy of Michael Bardell)

The second of Luke Wright’s original poems based on stories of World War One in Essex, has now been written.

It is called Zeppelin Attack, Braintree, 1916 and is based on a reminiscence from Doris Bardell, nee Carter.

Doris’ memories feature on one of the exhibition panels that will be unveiled during the Essex at War event on Sunday 14th September at Hylands House, Chelmsford.

Luke writes about the inspiration for this poem on his blog:

I come from just up the road from Braintree. I didn’t know about Crittall’s before researching this piece. Many of the window frames that made post-war Art Deco buildings so distinctive were made there, in this sleepy Essex town.

The bit about the German captain knowing where he was due to the bell has been disproved, as St Michael’s Church never had a bell, but that was the myth and myths make better poems. For me, what was fascinating about Doris’s account of this raid was the fact that despite it being the closest she got to the actual war it paled in significance with the wait for her dad to get home. Much is made of the collective suffering and collective striving of war, but I was struck by this private and personal longing.

You can read the poem on ‘Our Poems’ page or listen to Luke reading it:

 

100 years on…

And so the commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the first World War has begun…

There will be many events and plenty of TV coverage to keep us all informed of what happened 100 years ago, and we will be encouraged to ‘Remember’, to look back and reflect, to weigh up what that war means for us today.

Frank Bernard Lane

Frank Bernard Lane

For me, I know that one of my great grandfathers, Frank Bernard Lane, served for his country and although I never knew him I appreciate what he sacrificed for us, although I do know that he survived the Great War, unlike many of his friends, I suspect.

I have read many stories of bravery from our wonderful project researchers and have been impressed at the willingness of men and women to step into the unknown and risk their lives for the ‘greater good’. I hope you manage to have a look back through our archived blog posts to discover some of the stories. I also hope you get a chance to see the touring exhibition, when it is ready from September 2014 onwards, at your local museum or library, where you can read more fascinating stories.

Essex Poet, Luke Wright (photo courtesy of martin Figura)

Essex Poet, Luke Wright (photo courtesy of Martin Figura)

We were pleased to present the first of five completely original poems written by local poet, Luke Wright. He has taken the research given to him by our project manager, Tony Morrison, from our volunteer researchers, and turned it into a wonderful, reflective poem about what was going on in Essex, 100 years ago. Please do read it and let us know what you think.

In addition, the Essex Record Office and our partner museums have begun to work on education sessions or resources for secondary schools. Chelmer Valley High School, in Chelmsford has already held an art competition in conjunction with both the Essex Fire Museum and the Essex Police Museum. You can see their art work on our Project Partners: Schools page.

If you get a chance, do have a look at the EROs most recent blog post: ‘And so the mad Dance of Death has begun’: a look at the Essex County Chronicle of 7 August 1914, which is an extensive look at the Essex Chronicle’s reports from 100 years ago.

Whatever you do to remember, always remember that these were ordinary human beings like you and I, sucked into a frightening and traumatic experience beyond their control. What would you do today? Would you be first in line to sign up to go to war and serve for your country? Or would you have held back, with dread? None of us can say…

Sarah Girling, Project Manager