Brixham in the Great War
This exciting community project has been developed by the Friends of Brixham Library, in partnership with Brixham museum and a wide selection of local organisations. The successful application for funding from the National Lottery enables the project to commemorate the outbreak of The Great War, its impact on Brixham and its continuing legacy, and to ensure that future generations will continue to recognise the sacrifices made.
The two year project will include
- Artists workshops and activities with Paul Bennet to create a “triptych” – culminating in exhibition at Brixham Library.
- Volunteer training and open day session in archive research techniques – To add to our understanding of home/war service and local impact to fishing industry and everyday life.
- Drama workshops with South Devon Players culminating in a production of the play “The Provident” written by David Murphy.
- Publication of Lawrence Lake’s illustrated war time diary – Teachers’ packs – Project booklet – Booklet.
- Refurbishment of Brixham Museum WWI display.
- Mobile exhibition.
- Consolidation of Museum archive and artefacts.
- Dedicated Roll of Honour on Museum website.
- Tours of St Marys Churchyard to investigate the war dead buried there.
We welcome volunteers to join in all aspects of the project. The Museum would appreciate any photos, documents and loan or donation of any items from the Great War.
The HLF project consists of 4 major components:
1) A play written by local playwright David Murphy entitled ‘The Provident’. This tells the story of the saving of 72 Royal Navy survivors from HMS ‘Formidable’ (the first battleship to be torpedoed and lost in WW1) in Lyme Bay on January 1st 1915, by the Brixham Trawler ‘Provident’. Skipper William Pillar and his crew having spotted the life craft adrift in high seas spent 4 hours eventually rescuing and returning them all to the safety of Brixham Town. The King awarded all crew The Life Saving Medal at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace later that year.
The play is to be directed by John Miles and will be performed in March 2015 at Brixham Theatre. Prospective actors will be offered the chance of sailing on her sister ship ‘The Vigilance’ in October.
2) Artist Paul Bennett with the help from local schools both Primary and Secondary has created a ‘Triptych’ scale model installation showing: ‘The Town Hall Brixham August 1914’ with local volunteers taking the ‘Kings Shilling’ following the call from Lord Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’.
‘The Devon’s Regiment’ about to go ‘over the top’ on July 1st 1916 at the ‘Battle of The Somme’. Plus a family of today reflecting on the many names inscribed on the War Memorial by Brixham Breakwater. The model is carpeted with over a 1,000 poppies made by local school children and the backdrop painting of WW1 ‘Tommie’s’ crossing a trench has been painted in oil by a Churston art student. Brixham Quilters have embroidered an ‘Allied Butterfly’ measuring 2ftx3ft to accompany the installation. The installation is on display on ‘The Ledge’ from Aug-Oct and then in Brixham Museum.
3) An anthology of WW1 ‘Remembrance’ poems written by 23 students from Brixham Community College has been compiled and illustrated by the world famous Brixham based military artist Peter Archer. The anthology is available from the library for a small fee, with the winning entry by Dan Trezise accompanying the art installation.
4) Brixham Heritage Museum have updated their WW1 display case and compiled information on both those lost during the Great War and those who survived. All new information is uploaded onto pages on their website. The museum is putting together a mobile display showing local period photographs and letters written by soldiers serving at the ‘Front’. Also the World War One illustrated diary of local sailor Lawrence Lake has been copied and will be available from the Museum.
The ‘Mayors Fund Award’ is to build an educational WW1 ‘Sensory Trench’ as would have been seen on the Front Line. The trench will be sited at a convenient location for all to access. Visitors will enter each section of trench representing each year of the 4 year war. Plastic barbed wire will be in situ as will be sandbags, Lee Enfield rifle (replica), tin hats, duck-boards, alarm bells and clothe gas masks. When the alarm sounds, ‘plastic’ tin helmets will be donned, cloth masks held in place as theatrical smoke and stink bombs simulate ‘gas attack’. Volunteer stewards will guide the visitor through the trench and discuss aspects of the war as experienced by local men with information taken from their letters home. The project is to last for 2 years.