‘Always Remembered’

‘Always Remembered’ WW1 project description

At the start of 2016, M@HoT researcher Mike Bettison together with artist and musician Rupert Philbrick embarked on a journey to seek out the First World War memorials within the Heart of Teesdale landscape partnership boundaries. In doing so, they started to uncover the stories that lie within the names written in stone and on plaques up and down the dale.

Their aim was to create a digital record of each memorial’s location. Using field recording and photography, Rupert roamed across Teesdale finding secluded spaces and quiet places where each memorial stood, remembering those from each community that had served in the Great War.

M@HoT’s youth folk band Cream Tees played an integral part in the project, to begin with by learning folk tunes and songs contemporary to the conflict that were likely to be popular in Teesdale at the time, as identified by Mike Bettison. In also joining Mike and Rupert for one of their trips out in the dale, they were able to visit a range of different memorials from the Barnard Castle Post Office, graveyards, churches and public parks at The Bowes Museum.

Rupert Philbrick with some of the Cream Tees band members sharing stories and poems they had written in the Bowes Museum

Rupert Philbrick with some of the Cream Tees band members sharing stories and poems they had written in the Bowes Museum
(Photo by Neil Diment)

As they visited each site, new stories came into focus, as well as the opportunity to develop their own thoughts and reflections both on the conflict 100 years ago – but also how it is seen now in the modern day.

These thoughts were taken into workshops, where they began to translate their ideas into music with Rupert – reflecting on their ideas, their own family histories and on objects they were able to examine from The Bowes Museum’s WW1 Archive.

Rupert Philbrick working with Cream Tees band members, Matthew Hendry, left, and Joe Sammut on their First World War tune

Rupert Philbrick working with Cream Tees band members, Matthew Hendry, left, and Joe Sammut on their First World War tune
(Photo by Neil Diment)

To mark the centenary of the Battle of The Somme, and as the culmination of the project, M@HoT also organised a workshop and performance with renowned folk singer and concertina player John Kirkpatrick. Leading up to this event, Cream Tees worked with their tutors from the Traditional & Folk Music degree course at Newcastle University to learn some well-known First World War tunes such as It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Redwing, Keep the Home Fires Burning, Your King and Country Wants You.

Cream Tees Jamming session with 'Folk Degree' tutor Niamh Boadle

Cream Tees Jamming session with ‘Folk Degree’ tutor Niamh Boadle
(Photo by Neil Diment)

Meanwhile, our Longsword Dance team were putting together a new dance under the guidance of their tutor, Patrick Langdon, to the Tipperary tune. M@HoT’s seamstress and musician, Helen Bishop was busily making new ‘military-style’ costumes for their own special performance of the dance. Dance team member Emily Dods designed a new Teesdale Longsword Dance badge especially for the occasion too to match their new waistcoats.

The Teesdale Longsword team practising their new dance - in their new costumes - at The Hub

The Teesdale Longsword team practising their new dance – in their new costumes – at The Hub
(Photo by Mike Sammut)

The Teesdale Longsword Team logo

The Teesdale Longsword Team logo
(Design by Emily Dods)

A weekend workshop was held in June at The Hub in Barnard Castle and Bowes village hall with Niamh Boadle and Cream Tees’ long-term tutor Ian Stephenson along with Rupert and volunteer tutor, Sarah Boddy. This gave the Cream Tees youth folk band members the chance to develop original compositions, building on their reflections from visiting memorial sites and cemeteries. The young musicians experimented with drones and how to create atmosphere and ambience with their instruments. These were recorded by Rupert to compliment the field recordings from each of the memorial locations. You can hear them featuring as the soundtrack to each of the videos.

Mike Bettison discussing the impact of the First World War on his home village of Bowes, and thousands and thousands like it all over Britain, Sat 18th June

Mike Bettison discussing the impact of the First World War on his home village of Bowes, and thousands and thousands like it all over Britain, Sat 18th June
(Photo by Neil Diment)

 

Cream Tees workshop at Bowes village hall with Ian Stephenson, Sat 18th June

Cream Tees workshop at Bowes village hall with Ian Stephenson, Sat 18th June
(Photo by Neil Diment)

On Friday 8th July 2016, marking the centenary of the Battle of The Somme and bringing the project to a close, Cream Tees had a day’s workshop and tuition with John Kirkpatrick at Teesdale School, learning new ‘tunes from the trenches’ and getting ready for a wonderful performance that night at The Witham in Barnard Castle. The Teesdale Longsword Dance team performed their new dance on stage to a very appreciative audience. For their final number, the young musicians were joined on stage by John himself to sing a rousing rendition of ‘Good-bye-ee’ – a song he had taught them at the workshop that same afternoon.

Cream Tees perform on stage at The Witham with John Kirkpatrick, the culmination of the 'Always Rememebered' WW1 project

Cream Tees perform on stage at The Witham with John Kirkpatrick, the culmination of the ‘Always Rememebered’ WW1 project
(Photo by David Williams, Calico Images)

Teesdale Longsword dance team perform under the watchful eye of tutor Patrick Langdon, with musicians Mike Bettison and Heather McLachlan

Teesdale Longsword dance team perform under the watchful eye of tutor Patrick Langdon, with musicians Mike Bettison and Heather McLachlan
(Photo by David Williams, Calico Images)

It was an incredible way to wrap up the project, combining humour, humility and a growing awareness of history – and how the First World War affected Teesdale.

John Kirkpatrick performed a whole kitbag of songsrounding off the evening in fine style at his 'Tunes from the Trenches' concert on Sat, 8th July

John Kirkpatrick performed a whole kitbag of songsrounding off the evening in fine style at his ‘Tunes from the Trenches’ concert on Sat, 8th July
(Photo by David Williams, Calico Images)

We are very grateful to the Heart of Teesdale landscape partnership, Barnard Castle Town Council, the Mewhort Trust and Grass Roof Records who each helped fund the project.

For more information on regional First World War memorials and projects, please visit: