Friday, 26 February 2016

Ties that Bind

Private Jesse Hill [WAVE: DX554]
Over the last few weeks we have been supporting Big Brum Theatre in Education Company with their new WW1 project, Ties that Bind, which is supported by the HLF. We’ve been lucky enough to see previous WW1 productions by Big Brum and have been in awe of their creativity, passion and immense talent for working with young people in order to explore complex and challenging situations. Ties that Bind involves working with young people from schools in Birmingham and Wolverhampton to explore the experience of the young men involved in the First World War and their relationship to each other. This week I went with Matt and Richard from the company to Wolverhampton Archives, where I previously did some work, to explore a particular deposit that I hoped would be inspiring for the project. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Birmingham: Leading the Way

Birmingham Archives Kynoch Factory, WW1 images 
In 1914, Birmingham's reputation as a centre of medical specialisms came into it's own. The rapid set up of the First Southern General Hospital at Birmingham University on 15th August, just 11 days after war was declared, following months of preparation, set the template for Military Hospitals across the country serving the wounded in the coming years. A mere cursory look at the Mills' Munitions Factory photos at Birmingham Archives and Heritage gives an indication of the numbers and severity of the injuries to come.

Professor Jonathon Reinarz' talk at Birmingham University on 11th February 2016 to launch People's Heritage Co-operative Untold Stories Project provided a great start to a project which has at it's heart the uncovering of the stories of those wounded soldiers, the medical professionals they came into contact with and the development of medical practice and provision for injured and disabled soldiers.