Study and Community Events: Leeds, October 2016

Study and Community Events: Leeds, October 2016

On 21st and 22nd October, the Centre was very pleased to support a pair of events in partnership with Leeds City Museum. The events, which were held as part of Black History Month, were designed to examine histories and perspectives that are often overlooked.

The Study Day
The Study Day

On the Friday, a study day, entitled ‘Global Perspectives on World War One, was held at the museum. Papers were presented from a variety of speakers on a wide range of topics including how Black Soldiers and the wider African and Caribbean communities helped Britain during two World Wars, the life of Leeds Pal, Private Jogendra Sen, Chinese Perspectives on the Great War and female nurses’ relationships with non-white soldiers.

Staff from the National Archives, provided insights into the material that they hold on West Africa and South Asia and discussed the challenges of researching this area of the war and the value of examining the war through the themes loyalty and dissent.

On the Saturday, the museum opened its magnificent Broderick Hall for a community day called ‘Peoples’ Pathways: Soldiers from Overseas in World War One’. This event was largely performance-based, with music, spoken word and interactive talks.

Russell Smith as 2nd Lt Walter Tull
Russell Smith as 2nd Lt Walter Tull

Community historian Jahan Mahmood brought items from his travelling military museum and gave an illuminating talk on Muslim perspectives on the war. Russell Smith performed a monologue in character as Walter Tull, footballer and British Army officer and the event was rounded off with a beautiful performance of the World War One inspired Sacred Songs by Alchemy and SAA UK.

The topics were intentionally varied but nevertheless a few connecting themes emerged. One was the sheer range of stories that can be told about the war; so many that it’s possible to see the First World War not as one conflict, but many. It is important to reflect on these multiple ways of seeing history, not least because it confirms the value in having so many people take the time to explore the aspect of the war that most interests them.

Another theme to emerge was the depth of history required to even begin exploring the war. Most of the sessions examined histories with connections to the histories of empire and colonialism. Any thorough reflection of the global First World War must necessarily begin with the history of the European empires and the patterns of movement and control that developed way before 1914. So too is the history of Black and Asian people in Britain. This is also a long-term history and one that supports the view that the First World War is but a moment in a far longer set of stories about how people, willingly or otherwise, come together and find themselves sharing a common, albeit distinctive, histories.

A clean sweep:  Lofthouse Park’s Forgotten History

A clean sweep: Lofthouse Park’s Forgotten History

Community event explores why time stood still for over 1,000 Germans and Austrians in a Yorkshire village during the First World War

Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (© IWM Q56595)
Lofthouse Park Camp during World War One (© IWM Q56595)

People from South Leeds, Rothwell, Lofthouse, Outwood and Wakefield are invited to discover what went on in the now vanished Lofthouse Park between 1900 and 1919. Historical documents and a guided neighbourhood walk will reveal why and how the park was turned from an aerodrome and place of popular entertainment to an internment and prisoner-of-war camp for German and Austrian civilians and officers in World War One.

Visitors to the event will be given the opportunity to find out about ‘enemy aliens’, individual internees, life in the camp and the odd escape, based on ongoing research of In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time, a Centre for Hidden Histories funded project that brings together historians, descendants, residents, students and pupils from Britain and Germany.

The camp itself is not the only focus of the day, as project leader Claudia Sternberg (Legacies of War, University of Leeds) explains:

‘We will bring to life the experiences of Lofthouse Park Camp, but would like to know much more about the local communities at the time, whether they had dealings with the camp or not.

‘This Heritage Open Day is an opportunity for anyone to come and share knowledge, stories and documents relating to the local area in the first two decades of the 20th century. Perhaps people living around Park Avenue, Park Square and Park View or working for Peter Duffy Ltd. have even found objects that could be dated back to the time of the camp.’

Charity exhibition and bazar held at Lofthouse Park Camp in 1915 (State Library Berlin PPN746445490)
Charity exhibition and bazar held at Lofthouse Park Camp in 1915 (State Library Berlin PPN746445490)

The event is free and open to all. It will take place on Sunday, 11 September 2016, at Lofthouse Gate Working Men’s Club (12 Canal Lane, Lofthouse, Wakefield, WF3 3HN), from 11-16.00.

In addition to looking at documents on display and going on a walk led by independent historian David Stowe (11.30 and 14.00), visitors can try their hand at reconstructing Lofthouse Park Camp in a mapping workshop at 12.00. A short creative presentation by Heritage Corner’s Joe Williams and Leah Francis at 15.00 puts Lofthouse Park Camp in the wider context of civilian internment during the First World War, which affected tens of thousands of families in Britain, Germany and beyond.

The venue and guided walks are child-friendly and fully accessible. Pre-booking is only required for groups, but signing up for the walk on the day is appreciated. Children’s activities are offered throughout the day and refreshments are available.

For more information, please contact c.sternberg@leeds.ac.uk or dave-stowe@live.co.uk

 

Workshops: The First World War and the Middle East

2016 sees the centenary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret agreement by which the Entente powers, chiefly Britain and France, organised their intentions for the Middle East once the Ottoman Empire fell.

It was a significant moment in international relations and the development of the postwar system and is of particular interest at the moment, not just because of the centenary, but also the huge ramifications that it has had on the present day, in the Middle East and beyond.

The Centre intends to use the moment of the centenary to explore and discuss Sykes-Picot, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the long term impact of the First World War on a region that isn’t always associated with that conflict in the wider public imagination.

Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032
Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032

The Centre’s first public activities will take place in York on the 26th April. There are three linked events taking place, you can book for all three, or for each one individually.

The morning workshop will draw on the King’s Book of York Heroes and local research current, recent and future, focusing on the Middle East. The afternoon will lead on from this to more general discussions of World War One and the Middle East, including Yorkshire’s involvement and implications for today. Famous Yorkies such as Sir Mark Sykes, Gertrude Bell, and even Lawrence of Arabia and Bridlington will attend. ISIS will no doubt be mentioned!

There will be exhibitions throughout the day, along with lots of sources familiar and unfamiliar. We hope the day will generate enthusiasm and interest to follow up these ideas so it has a lasting legacy.

Details are still being confirmed, and may well be changed. Draft programmes are below.

MORNING:

9am: set up exhibits

9.30-10.30:  Coffee & Registration: Network and view exhibits

10.30-12.30 (with break):  Introduction: Themes of today and of the BABITME conference

  • The King’s Book of York Heroes.
    • What is it?
    • What has been done with it so far? Research from Fulford, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe
    • What remains to be done? Digitisaton? A digital database? Linking with other data sources?

12.30: Lunch (free if booked). Network and view exhibits

AFTERNOON:

1.30-5.30 (with breaks): Several themes such as the following

  • Middle East and the decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1900-1920
  • What happened? Different perspectives (Ottoman, German, Russian, French)
  • Sykes-Picot (16 May 1916)
  • Yorkshire links with the Middle East
  • The East Riding Yeomanry in Egypt and Palestine
  • Gertrude Bell, Mark Sykes, Wass Reader (a Hull soldier writes home)
  • Possible future research.
  • Yorkshire Quakers, pacifism, and the Middle East
  • Presentations from the Rowntree Society (York)
  • Contribution from Cyril Pearce (world-renowned expert on the history of pacifism – see below)
  • Prospects and sources for future research
Sykes Picot Agreement Map
Sykes Picot Agreement Map

The evening lecture (7.30) relates to pacifism in World War One and is hosted by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (details here). The speaker, Cyril Pearce, is world-renowned. Workshop attendees will be entitled to attend this lecture without charge.

All events are in central York. Morning and afternoon workshops are at Clements Hall, just 800 yards from York Railway station – turn right as you come out of the station, curve left and go over the bridge, cross in front of Micklegate Bar, then walk 200 yards along Nunnery Lane, turn right along Dale Street, and Clements Hall is at the end on your left. If you are parking, park in Nunnery Lane car park (fees apply).The evening event is in the Yorkshire Museum (see details below).

The entire day links with the themes of the “Borders and Beyond in the Middle East” (BABITME) conference in York in mid-June (details here). Those attending on 26 April will be entitled to free and reduced-fee tickets to BABITME (normal price £100).

We hope that you will decide to stay for the entire day on April 26th, but booking will be possible for each session separately.

 

Event: Pat Barker in Conversation

320x320.fitandcropAs part of UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature, award-winning British writer Pat Barker will be appearing at Nottingham Playhouse on Wednesday 15 June. 

Barker is one of the leading novelists of the First World War. She was awarded the Booker Prize for The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in her much acclaimed World War I Regeneration Trilogy.

Noon Day, the third novel in her Life Class trilogy, which spans the First and Second World Wars, was published in 2015 and she is working on a new novel.

Pat Barker is renowned for her imaginative exploration of war and has regenerated interest in historical figures including the army psychiatrist W.H.R Rivers and artist-surgeon Dr Henry Tonks, as well as war artists in both world wars. As we mark the centenary of the First World War, Barker’s writing has particular and contemporary resonance.

Barker’s novels have been adapted for the stage and filmed in the US and the UK. They are studied in schools and enjoyed by readers across the generations.

Pat Barker will be in conversation with Sharon Monteith, Professor of American Studies at the University of Nottingham, who has followed Barker’s work since the 1980s and written about it since the 1990s. She published Pat Barker (Northcote House and the British Council, 2002), the first critical study of the writer, and co-edited Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker (2005).

For more information and to book tickets, please visit the Nottingham Playhouse website

Winston Churchill: Size 46

Winston Churchill: Size 46

Churchill visiting the Enfield Lock Munitions Works, 1915
Churchill the politician visiting the Enfield Lock Munitions Works, 1915

Winston Churchill is indelibly associated with the Second World War, and with good reason. As Prime Minister of Britain from 1940-45, he took a leading role in the conflict. However, he also had significant role in the First World War and one that is rather less celebrated.

In 1914 Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and took part in the debates and arguments that concerned British involvement. He was also a staunch advocate of the development of the tank, then still referred to as ‘landships’. However, he is perhaps better known (or more notorious) for his masterminding of the failed Dardanelles campaign and the Gallipoli landings, which were tragic disasters for the Allied cause.

Seeking to make amends for his failures, Churchill left the government and took a commission in the Army, serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. He remained there until 1916 and, after winning the trust of new Prime Minister David Lloyd George, he returned to government, initially as Minister of Munitions.

After the war he was appointed Secretary of State for Air and War and attended peace talks in Paris in 1919 at which he warned of the dangers of Bolshevism. His opposition to the Soviet system remained with him even after he was forced to make common cause with the Soviet Union in the defeat of Hitler.

Churchill with the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Ploegsteert. 1916
Churchill the soldier with the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Ploegsteert. 1916

Artist Joy Pitts, whose work we covered in an earlier blog post, has started work on a piece to commemorate Churchill. The work, currently titled ‘Size 46’ will focus on Churchill’s very particular style.

The project has been made possible through collaboration with his preferred outfitters. Churchill was certainly a man of style, choosing Henry Poole & Co, the most famous Savile Row tailor to measure, cut, fit and sew his bespoke three-piece suits.
Turnbull & Asser of Jermyn Street were also favoured by Churchill, pattern cutting and crafting his shirts and spot silk bow ties. Later referring to Churchill simply as size 46 and designing his famous ‘siren suit’.
Our vision of Churchill today would certainly not be complete without the addition of a Homburg hat, first ordered by Churchill from Lock & Co Hatters at No. 6 St. James’s Street, London in 1911. Now the oldest hat shop in the world.

The artwork in progress
The artwork in progress

Henry Poole & Co, Turnbull & Asser and Lock & Co Hatters are proud to have been of service to Churchill and are delighted to supply their bespoke labels for inclusion in his portrait. The result will be a contemporary image of Britain’s greatest war leader, portrayed through dress and reflecting on quality couture craftsmanship.
Once assembled using thousands of dressmaker pins the portrait will be exhibited in London in 2016

For more details and to see the work develop, please follow Joy’s blog