ELHAS News July 2016
There has been so much going on these last few months it is hard to know where to start. I suppose the best thing is to do it in chronological order. Since this year is the 100th anniversary both of the Battle of the Somme and of the major explosion at the Barnbow Shell Filling factory there have been many events associated with these.
In March we gave an illustrated talk at Leeds City Museum called "Women at War - The Barnbow Story". This was part of the museum's season of events honouring the role and achievements of women. The talk was very well attended, in fact we ended up with people standing at the back and sitting on the floor in the aisles. We were delighted when a member of the audience offered to let us copy a certificate of employment given to her mother at the end of her service at Barnbow. This was followed on Saturday 7th May by our attending at the annual History Fayre at the museum. We had display boards showing the activities we are involved in as well as one board about the Barnbow factory. We took the opportunity to hand out back copies of the journal which were very well received. It was also a chance to meet other Leeds historians. We were particularly glad to meet Steven Burt and Michael Meadowcroft who both made favourable comments about the Leeds History Journal.
We have been heavily involved with the production of "Barnbow Canaries" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse which opened in June. When the actors first started rehearsing we were asked to give a short talk to the cast about Barnbow, this was followed by requests from the wardrobe department and the set director for photos and information, which we were happy to supply. Finally we were asked to provide information for the programme notes which took the form of a newspaper of the period. We thoroughly enjoyed attending the official first night of the play and the opportunity at the reception afterwards to renew our acquaintance with the author and the cast. During that same week we took part in a broadcast on the Today programme on Radio Four and were filmed by the BBC for an item about Barnbow which will feature in the "Inside Out"' programme in November. That proved to be a very exciting experience and we are looking forward to viewing the show later in the year.
As part of the Somme commemoration events we were invited
to the preview of the new "In Their Footsteps" exhibition at
Leeds City Museum and a reception and concert at Leeds Town Hall where
we enjoyed a performance of "Requiem For the Armed
Man". On the 1st of July we held the presentation ceremony in Manston
Park for the winners of the Memorial Garden Design Competition. Over 150
children entered the competition this year which made it a hard task for
the judges to select the winner. Eventually the design submitted by Leah
Smith of Manston St James Primary Academy which featured a beautiful large
red heart was selected. Lucy Swift from Manston Primary and Bethany Parker
from Manston St James Primary Academy took second and third places respectively.
The winning design was beautifully planted up by the Parks and Countryside
department of Leeds City Council and looked stunning on the day. Our MP
Richard Burgon presented the prizes aided by Councillor Pauleen Grahame.
The children thoroughly enjoyed the event and the weather was kind, saving
the rain for later in the day. On the same day we attended the unveiling
of the pavement plaque at Leeds Minster to honour Leeds VC winner George
Sanders. There will be more plaques unveiled later in the year.
We are taking a break now for the rest of July and August.
Our next meeting on Monday the 26th September will be an illustrated talk
by Simon Tomson entitled "Roman Castleford".