The First World War had a profound impact on the history of the UK and Basildon. Although the last human witnesses are no longer with us, the First World War remains etched in the collective memory of our nation.
The Great War has had lasting effects on world geography, attitudes and brought about worldwide social change, confirming the importance of international cooperation, partnership and solidarity.
The BHBG plans to deliver a series of commemorative projects linked between the twinning towns of Basildon, Meaux and Heiligenhaus – thus creating a mutual learning environment and an opportunity for collective remembrance.
On Friday 14th March, The Laboratory Art Studio launched the commemorative project with assistance from pupils from both Vange Primary School and Pitsea Junior School, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Bob Sheridan Basildon's Twinning Town Coordinator and volunteers from The Basildon Borough Heritage Group. The pupils, (all from schools that would have been around during World War 1) set about working on a mosaic design by Lisa Smith to commemorate the centenary of The Great War.
The children marked out tiles, cut the tiles and placed them onto the mosaic, due to be placed in a designated space outside The Green Centre at the park. After spending some time working on the mosaic, we took some time to scatter some poppy seeds of the area where the mosaic will be placed - taking time to remember those that fought and died for us during the Great War.
Here are some photos from our day in the park
|Adding tile onto the mosaic|
|Working as a team|
|Broadcasting poppies on the designated poppy patch at The Park|
|Getting ready to sow some seeds|
|Chatting with Local MP Stephen Metcalfe about what the symbol of a poppy means|
|Local MP Stephen Metcalfe helps lay some tiles onto the mosaic|
|Making mini mosaics|
|Getting in some good practice making mini mosaics before work starts on the large piece|
If you are interested in becoming involved in the World War 1 commemorative project we would love to hear from you, we are currently looking for the following:
1. Exhibits, artefacts, poetry, writings, objects etc from or about what life was like in Basildon during World War 1. These will form a mobile exhibition that will visit all three countries featuring the exhibits.
2. Young people ages between 16-23 that are currently studying history to take part in a conference for young people in Heiligenhaus in Germany. The pupils (aged between 16-23 years) - will discuss the impact that World War 1 had on each town. These discussions will facilitate an understanding of diverse opinions and perspectives of WW1, leading ultimately to the creation of visual art and theatrical productions.
3. Willing volunteers to take part in a re-enactment of the famous Christmas Football day match. This will take place in Meaux in France. After the match participants will have the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings after the football match – to think about what they would talk about with their German counterparts and what (if anything) they would swap or show to them on the football pitch.
Through these events the BHBG aim to broaden people’s understanding of the war, to commemorate and remember those that were caught up in it, to tell well known stories from fresh perspectives and to inspire and encourage learning in the years ahead. To inform, educate and share findings with the public through the mobile exhibition, film, educational resources and social media – creating a sustainable legacy.
If you would like to get involved in any of the three projects listed about, or have artefacts that you think may be of interest, we would love to hear your stories, please contact Lisa Smith, Project Manager at The_Laboratory@hotmail.co.uk for more information