Monday, 2 January 2017

Zeppelins in Birmingham?

Publicity Department, Central Recruiting Depot.
 Restoration by Adam Cuerden.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division Washington, D.C
'On a foggy, frosty night of January 31 to February 1, 1916, Tipton, Bradley, Wednesbury and Walsall were bombed by Zeppelins in one of the heaviest air raids of the First World War. By the end of that terrible night, 35 local people were dead, including the Lady Mayoress of Walsall, Mary Julia Slater.'

The L21 Zeppelin responsible is still one of the largest 'combat aircraft' to have ever flown.  On 31st of January Captain Max Deitrich of the L21 was planning to bomb Liverpool when he saw the lights of the Black country below.  Birmingham had almost certainly been spared as the council had prudently put a police order in place to 'show no lights'.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Learning from history

Nigel Farage, John Bull gnome
2016 has certainly felt like an 'eventful' year. How does it compare with the past and what can we look forward to?  The Prince of Wales took the extraordinary step to use Radio 4 'Thought for the day' to raise his concerns over the recent rise in 'Populism', echoing 'the dark days of the 1930s'.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Recovery and recuperation in Bournville

Fircroft College during WW1
Thanks LoB: MS 466/3a/831
With the onset of World War 1 and in particular the Gallipoli campaign in early and mid 1915, the hospitals in Birmingham began to receive casualties, both ill and wounded servicemen. In addition to the acute facilities available at the 1st Southern General Hospital, convalescent homes were required to allow individuals to regain their health and strength. Throughout the city appropriate facilities were sought and requisitioned by the War Office. In Bournville two buildings were identified and made available by Cadburys – Fircroft and The Beeches.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Untold Stories: sharing stories across the generations

As part of The People's Heritage Co-operative's HLF funded project, 'Untold Stories: Birmingham's Wounded Soldiers from WW1', Year 8 pupils at Swanshurst School took part in a series of workshops with Rachel Gillies - Community Film Maker to learn how to conduct filmed oral history interviews.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

In Soldiers Footsteps: Commemorating WW1 and the Somme

Often individual stories, especially in regards to the First World War, are lost when commemorating a big and significant part of history. The workshop I created for the Year 5 children at Paganel school was aimed at highlighting the individuals involved worldwide in the war and extracting their individual stories, not only of their experiences of war but their families, who were left behind.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The End of Reason 1916, in Schools now

'Lie of the land' - a site specific Big Brum drama
at Highbury Hall earlier this year
Big Brum Theatre in Education Company have started their autumn term tour into schools with their third World War One play, ‘Over The Top’. 

Summer 1916. 141 days of horror begin as the Battle of the Somme becomes one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history.  The play and Theatre in Education programme tells the story of a young Irish soldier joining up against the background of the Easter uprising in Dublin, as his childhood sweetheart is sent to a hospital receiving casualties from the first few days of the Battle of the Somme. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Campaigning for our wounded soldiers

Find out more about Untold Stories
'Untold Stories' has unearthed a history which we in Birmingham can be proud of, in terms of medical treatment of  World War one soldiers, but also a history of prejudice and discrimination which is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.