Cowper and Newton Museum Commemorate WW1

Commemorate the WW1 centenary with our Old Time Music Hall Extravaganza on 25th April at the Carlton House Club.

Be transported back in time to the good old days and reminisce with tributes to great acts such as Gert & Daisy, Laurel & Hardy, Wilson Kepple & Betty, Stanley Holloway and more. Bring a hat and join in the gaiety!

Download the Old Time Music Hall Poster here.

Tickets are only £3 but in limited supply, tickets available from Cowper and Newton Museum or via 01234 711516.

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Simpson commemorates Private Frederick Nicholls

Peter Barnes writes…

100 years ago, on 13 March 1915, Private Frederick Nicholls of the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (Service number 10250) died at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, ten miles to the south-west of Lille. He was 21 years old, one of the nine children of Frederick and Mary Nicholls, who lived at 182 Simpson Road.

Frederick Nicholls was commemorated this morning at the war memorial at Simpson which bears his name. A brief Biography (FN) was placed on the memorial for those who pass by to read.  It also appears on the ‘Lest we forget’ page on the Simpson & Ashland Parish website.
Simpson Commemoration - F NIchollsLena Bates, from the Simpson Britain in Bloom group, placed a beautiful posy of flowers on the memorial, following the practice instituted in November 2014.
Simpson Commemorates F Nicholls 2I am very grateful to the members of the group who prepare these posies and also liaise with Milton Keynes Council over the planting and maintenance of the memorial. Their work on behalf of the community in honouring those who served and died in both World Wars and, more widely, ensuring that Simpson is an attractive and cared-for environment is widely appreciated. It will feature in the Heritage section of Simpson’s submission to the Britain in Bloom awards this summer.

For the Fallen – commemorative dance for Campbell Park

These images show early development of For the Fallen, a commemorative dance piece that will take place at Campbell Park on 5th July.  Inspired by WW1, the conflict and the stories or war, this dance will involve over 100 performers and will feature 500 banners created by the people of Milton Keynes.  Choreographed by Helen Parlor, Effie McGuire-Ward and Chris Bradley this large-scale dance will be a beautiful act of commemoration.

Helen, Chris and Effie are currently looking for dance groups that are interested in being involved in this project – young or old, amateur or professional they want to hear from you.  More information can be found here: Dance Great War MK Flyer.

The banners that will feature in For The Fallen are being created in artist-led workshops with experienced textile artist, Vinny Stapley.  There are plenty of opportunities to take part in public workshops – see our events page, or you can use our template to create and donate a poppy to the project, more info here.

by Karen Kodish

by Karen Kodish

Works on War – new songs and music inspired by WW1 stories

Working with a group of talented young people, professional musician Steven McDaniel, is supporting the development of new songs and music inspired by the WW1 stories held by Living Archive. This project builds on the previous work of the Living Archive Band, and the new music and songs will be performed live on 29th May at MK Gallery by the young song-writers and a talented ensemble.

Works on War Annas NotesThrough song and music writing workshops, these talented young musicians are developing moving new works that bring to life the memories and stories stored in Living Archive’s records.  Works on War Mitch and Manny

Here are two raw recordings of songs in development:

In the Final Hour by Manny – early development with a first take vocal, and some early instrumentation to give a flavour of where we are going.

The General Said by Mitchell – a fist mix, raw with no arrangement, with Mitch singing and playing guitar and Steve on bass.

Poppies Call Out – We Need Your Help

Sew, Stick or Knit a Poppy for the Great War MK ProjectPoppy Banner Close up

We need your help!  We are looking for people that want to create and donate a poppy, to be added to a WW1 centenary banner as part of Westbury Arts Centre’s Banner Project.  These banners will be included in an act of commemoration on 5th July at Campbell Park.  This event will be a beautiful piece of dance exploring themes of conflict, involving over 100 dancers and moving around Campbell Park – everyone is welcome.

To get involved: Find some fabric and cut out a poppy using our template (or if you prefer, crochet or knit a poppy).  You can add embroidery or sparkle and add the name of a relative or someone from your village that was involved in WW1.  When you are happy with your poppy take a photo to remember it by (you can share on Facebook or on Twitter using #GreatWarMKattach the slip from the Poppy Brief and send it to Westbury Arts Centre or put it into a Great War MK Poppy Box at your local MK Library by 12thJune 2015.  We would also love to hear any stories that you have about relatives or people who lived in your village that served in WW1.

The Poppy Brief and Poppy Template can be found here.

Great War MK is a project exploring the impact of the First World War on the communities of Milton Keynes through research, commemorative events, activities and community workshops.  You can see our upcoming events here.

Westbury Arts Centre address: Foxcovert Road, Shenley Wood, Milton Keynes, MK5 6AA /  www.westburyartscentre.co.uk / info@westburyartscentre.co.uk

Replica tanks, street theatre and commemorative dance for Great War MK

For the Fallen

For the Fallen

How about seeing a bit of theatre in a full-size replica 1st World War tank? Or watching a commemorative dance with hand-made banners? Or perhaps participating as an Old Time Music Hall audience – letting the performers know what you think of their acts! New music from young musicians, new film shows of the Great War era, extraordinary installations and exhibitions – all these are part of the Great War MK project about to explode on the Milton Keynes community.

Great War MK is a collaborative project led by the Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK). It explores the impact of the First World War on the communities of Milton Keynes – an area now covering six towns, 41 villages and 1/4 million people – through research, commemorative events, participatory learning activity and community workshops. During 2015 Great War MK will be presenting events and opportunities for people to explore and commemorate the lives and the stories of the Great War.

With funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and seed-funding from MK Council, this project brings together various arts and heritage organisations, which are all exploring WW1 themes and using different methods to tell stories. The partner organisations are: Cowper and Newton Museum, Deanshanger Village Heritage Society, Festive Road, Independent Cinema Milton Keynes, Living Archive, MK Gallery, Pepper’s Ghost Theatre Company, Westbury Arts Centre through support from MK Heritage Association: Bucks Constabulary Museum, North Crawley Historical Society and Simpson History Group.

Great War MK aims to work with people of all ages and abilities, providing opportunities to take part in workshops, and activities are now developing. To find out more see our events page and Facebook or follow @AHA_MK #GreatWarMK on Twitter. You can also hear more about the projects on our Vimeo page.

Alongside these events, Great War MK is also putting a call out to any community groups or individuals that want to be part of this large-scale project: we want you to create and donate your very own hand-made poppy to be added to a WW1 banner. Using the sewing template found here (or by knitting or crocheting), we are asking for as many people as possible to create a poppy that will be included in banners used as part of an act of commemoration in July at Campbell Park. To find out more please see the blog.

Marion Hill, author and Chair of the Great War MK Steering Group says: ‘Even after a hundred years, the Great War continues to move and inspire – and with the wealth of talented people that we have here in Milton Keynes, we look forward to so much more to reflect upon – because Milton Keynes does it differently!’

The stories of Milton Keynes in WW1, of those that went off to fight, those that stayed behind and of those that did not return will be commemorated through this project and we invite all residents of Milton Keynes to remember them with us by attending a workshop or event, making a poppy or by volunteering with us.

Beautiful Commemorative Banners

Westbury Arts Centre’s Banner Project aims to produce over 500 commemorative banners to be included in a large-scale dance piece entitled ‘For the Fallen’ taking place in Campbell Park.  Textile artist Vinny Stapley has been working with groups to create these banners – the dance project is being choreographed by Helen Parlor, Effie McGuire-Ward and Chris Bradley.

Here are some examples of the beautiful banners being produced…

If you are interested in getting involved in this project you can either attend a public banner workshop, or if you are part of a group, speak to Westbury Arts Centre directly about running a workshop: caroline@westburyartscentre.co.uk / 01908 501214

If you are part of a dance group, Westbury Arts Centre are also looking for more dancers to be part of the final dance piece – more info can be found on the Dance Great War Flyer.

We are also looking for people to create and donate poppies to be included on banners – more info here.