To mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, in 2015 we held a series of workshops and events in Plaistow to learn more about the impact of the war on our local area, particularly the families of the men whose names are inscribed on the Memorial Bells.
Three groups of people took part: All of year 6 from Kaizen Primary School in the last two weeks of term in June ; year 7 from Oasis Academy Silvertown in September; and a group of local people in August-September attending workshops in the church building. The project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
The workshops included:
Research skills led by a history researcher. We found out more about the First World War, and used Ancestry and other sources to find out more about some of our local heroes. New information has been added to the profiles on this website.
Visual art led by artists from Rosetta Art Centre. The three different groups looked at , and produced their own, propaganda posters, Dada-ist art, Dazzle Ship designs, and combined with writing to produce visual, graphic poems. The church group, very moved by the poppies in the Tower of London, created their own small sea of poppies. You can see a gallery of the work here.
Creative writing workshops led by author Andi Michael, led to some very moving letters, as children and older people imagined themselves going back in time and writing to a loved one who was in the army. Poetry was inspired particularly by the story of Private William Henry Adams of 147 Ling Road, Canning Town, who joined straight up after being handed a white feather – his family never even saw him in uniform. Read some of the letters and poems here.
The stories were shared with other local people through an exhibition in the church’s Tower Gallery from 11 – 27 November. Some of the stories and poems were read at the launch event on 11 November.
Several of the letters and poems were read aloud as part of a Local Heroes Walking Tour, which took place as part of Heritage Open Day on Saturday 13 September – and will be repeated on future occasions. This proved to be a reflective and moving hour that gave a powerful sense of the history in our local streets.