World War One At Home

The BBC has been developing a collection of stories to demonstrate how WW1 affected people and places in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The strategic aim is to connect the audience to this past viscerally by bringing home how the global war was experienced locally in the domestic settings and workplaces in homes and streets and factories of cities, towns, villages, hamlets.  Helen Weinstein, Creative Director of Historyworks has been involved with BBC Strategy for the marking of the Commemoration of World War One.  In addition, Historyworks has made a range of products for the commemoration, with Sam Johnson as Researcher, Jonathan Cowap as Presenter, Helen Weinstein as Producer, Jon Calver as Sound Engineer/Editor, and John Oxley as Advisor.  

These WW1 pieces include a BBC Radio Feature series about York's experience in World War One, a Drama about Conscientious Objectors in York which was made as a sound installation for the Guildhall in York, and a History Trail App showing York's Experience of World War One which you can experience in situ using the app/map or via audio on youtube if you do not have a smartphone.  You can find all of these items as audio files and further information below on these pages.  

Please give feedback if you wish! 

BBC WORLD WAR ONE WEBSITE

To find a vast range of resources, do go to the BBC World War One Website, where you can search by locations, themes, and by BBC Region/Radio Station.  All BBC Regional and Local Radio stations will be commemorating the Great War on Monday 4th August by broadcasting the features on these pages: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01nhwgx

BBC WORLD WAR ONE CENTENARY COVERAGE 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-28489916


BBC Features Produced by Historyworks

For those interested in the project, do please find below the brief with BBC to Historyworks for the radio features, the photographs of the cast and crew in Studio, and then the descriptions and links to the BBC Audio for the history features about how people experienced WW1 in York

SYNOPSIS: A SERIES THAT BRINGS TO LIFE THE HIDDEN STORIES OF WORLD WAR ONE BY VISITING THE REAL PEOPLE, BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, AND NEIGHBOURHOODS OF YORK CITIZENS 

FORMAT: ILLUSTRATED DOCUMENTARY FEATURES USING READINGS FROM LETTERS, DIARIES, NEWSPAPERS, WAR RECORDS, HOSPITAL AND MENTAL HEALTH CARE FACILITY RECORDS, ORAL HISTORY FRAGMENTS

STRUCTURE: 5 x MINI FEATURES TO PLAY OUT AS A SERIES AND/OR AS 'STAND ALONE' FEATURES: USING A MEMBER OF THE BBC RADIO YORK TEAM AS PRESENTER/NARRATOR 

STORIES: CONTRASTING FEATURES WILL TELL DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF HOW THE WAR WAS EXPERIENCED IN  YORK, PAYING ATTENTION TO THE OFTEN NOW FORGOTTEN STORIES OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN, WORK AND PLAY, IMPRISONMENT AND CASUALTIES.

RECORDING BBC HISTORY FEATURES IN STUDIO AT BBC RADIO YORK

Historyworks has been proud to be involved in these endeavours, coaching the producers and presenters, and specifically making the series recording in and around York.  We enjoyed working with the team of Blood and Chocolate at Pilot Theatre to cast the voices needed for the features for the BBC.  Please find photos in the BBC York Studios featuring Presenter, Jonathan Cowap, working with Producer Helen Weinstein and Jon Calver, alongside our Researcher Sam Johnson and the fab members of the cast recording their readings in studio:

BBC RADIO YORK FEATURES

To find all of the features for BBC Radio York go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01p35cy

HISTORYWORKS PRODUCTIONS FOR BBC RADIO - TITLED BY PLACE

"From a Maid to a Railway Worker"   - Place: Railway Station, York

"Protecting Stained Glass from Zeppelin Raids" - Place: York Minster, York

"A Quaker School in Wartime" - Bootham School, York

"King Albert's Belgium Refugees" - New Earswick, York

"Tied to a Barbed Wire Fence" - Guildhall, York

"German Reservists Marched Through York" - Castle Green, York

"Peace Day" - Lendal Bridge, York


"From a Maid to a Railway Worker"

"From a Maid to a Railway Worker" - Place: Railway Station, York

Today, York’s Victorian Railway Station is a bustling interchange for modern travellers, but during World War One its location marked it out as a crucial junction for soldiers and sailors travelling the length and breadth of the country. It was here, under the auspices of the giant but elegant iron structure which overarches the busy platforms that many of York’s women stepped in to the roles the men had vacated. 

On Platform 3 at York station, a team of York ladies established a soldiers and sailors buffet car to provide refreshments to servicemen passing through the station. This equated to a staggering weekly average of 18,000 men. In addition to this, women were also stepping into clerical and engineering work, prompting discussions in the North Eastern Railway company correspondence about gender roles in the workplace. 

World War One had a dramatic impact on many aspects of British life but the growing confidence felt by women who were now able to take on more substantial and varied professional roles, was one of the most significant changes. Their confidence is clearly identifiable in a number of photographs published in the North Eastern Railway Magazine from 1917, which display teams of women at work on an engine, proudly showing off their new places of work, new attire and new skills. 

Location: York Railway Station, North Yorkshire YO24 1AB 


Image: Women on a steam engine, courtesy of the National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits: Rosie Rowley, John Hoyland

With thanks to the National Railway Museum and its staff for their kind support and assistance for the research on this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230lz3


"Protecting Stained Glass from Zeppelin Raids"

"Protecting Stained Glass from Zeppelin Raids"

York Minster is famed for its ornate stained glass windows. During World War One, these were removed from the landmark building and hidden in purpose built, bomb-proof shelters in secret locations around the city to preserve them from Zeppelin attacks. More than one hundred windows were taken out and replaced with plain glass, although some materials such as lead were difficult to obtain. The lead eventually used was found at Rievaulx Abbey. 

Among those hidden was the Five Sister’s Window, which was later dedicated to the women of the British Empire who lost their lives in active service during World War One. 

The window was restored in 1924, after the funds for the restoration were raised by Mrs Little, who reported having a vision of her long-dead sisters beckoning her towards the window. She raised £3,000, which included a donation of £50 from HRH Princess Mary. 

To the side of the Five Sister’s Window, there is also a wooden screen which lists the names of the women who lost their lives during WW1, including Edith Cavell. 



Location: York Minster, York YO1 7HH 


Image of the five sisters window reproduced with the kind permission of the Chapter of York 

Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Historyworks for BBC Radio with thanks to the archivists at York Minster Library for help with this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01x5qp0


"A Quaker School in Wartime"

"A Quaker School in Wartime" 

Residents of the elegant Georgian buildings in York's affluent Bootham area first caught news of the war when shouts awoke them at 1am on the morning of 5 August 1914. This disruption marked the beginning of four long, difficult years for the staff and pupils of the local, Quaker-run, Bootham School. 

The school’s headmaster was Arthur Rowntree and the experiences of his family and the schoolboys were charted in a diary by his wife Ellen. 

Like many suitable locations across the country, buildings were rapidly requisitioned and adapted when the outbreak of war was announced. Schools in York anticipated the needs of the country and adapted classrooms into hospital wards. 

Ellen describes in her diary how the sports fields were turned into potato fields and students were sent out to labour on farms, filling the spaces left by those who had enlisted. 

Despite the distance from the conflict, a series of Zeppelin raids in 1916 brought to homes in York a taste of the shelling that troops in the trenches were experiencing in France and Belgium. However, some of the school’s most creative and brave were over in France helping the war effort as part of the Friends Ambulance Unit, although many never returned. 

Location: Bootham School, 49-57 Bootham, York YO30 7BU 

Image courtesy of Bootham School 

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits: Rory Mulvihill, Shirley Williams

With thanks to Bootham School and its staff for their kind support and assistance with the research for this features.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230lx6


"King Albert's Belgium Refugees"

"King Albert's Belgium Refugees"

The peaceful garden village of New Earswick, built by the York businessman and philanthropist Joseph Rowntree to house his employees at his world-famous chocolate factory, became home to a number of Belgian refugees during World War One. 

After fleeing the brutality of war and enduring many hardships, these individuals and families were welcomed, housed and employed within the city when they began arriving as early as December 1914. 

Minutes taken from the Cocoa Works Magazine in October 1914 show that a number of meetings took place to discuss how the refugees would be accommodated. It was agreed that 1d from each employee’s weekly wage packet would go towards a relief fund. This generosity was continued when the Rowntrees Company designated nine houses in the village to home the refugees whilst its staff furnished and prepared them. 

The hospitality must have been much appreciated after the ordeals many of the refugees had withstood, some of which are documented in the staff magazine. One such example is that of the Van Eeckhout family, who, after hiding in a well for three days to avoid capture, walked 150 miles to reach Calais in order to get safe transport to the British Isles. 

Location: New Earswick, York, North Yorkshire YO32 4AL 
Image: New Earswick during the war, courtesy of Imagine York, York City Archive 

 

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits: Claire Halliday

With thanks to the Borthwick Institute for Archives for their kind support and assistance with the research for this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230mm6


"Tied to a Barbed Wire Fence"

"Tied to a Barbed Wire Fence"

York, significant for its Quaker population, played a pivotal role in the story of conscientious objectors during World War One. 

In Spring, 1916, the grand wood-panelled council chamber at York's Guildhall was the location for a series of tribunals held to judge the fate of men who resisted the Military Service Act and were refusing to fight on grounds of conscience. Central to the proceedings was Alderman Sir Joseph Sykes Rymer whose portrait still looks down from the wall of the Guildhall Chamber. 

On 27 January 1916, the Military Service Act was passed. This stated that all men between the ages of 19 and 41 who were physically able must enlist. Although a large number of men did enlist, many who were opposed to the war refused to fight on the grounds of conscience. 

As campaigners such as Sir Arnold Rowntree and Edmund Harvey defended their rights in Parliament, tribunals were held in the Guildhall to hear the reasons why these conscientious objectors felt they could not and would not engage with the war effort. Only 1% of appeals nationally were for reasons of conscience, with the rest citing economic or family reasons. Although in a city like York, the percentage was probably higher. 

One such case was that of Rowntree’s worker Alfred Martlew. He, along with sixteen other absolutists, was imprisoned in Richmond Castle and later sent to France. Collectively known as the ‘Richmond Sixteen’; these men were sentenced to death and although the decision was overturned, Martlew’s story still ended tragically as shortly after returning to York his body was found in the River Ouse and his death presumed to be suicide. 

Location: The Guildhall, St Helen’s Square, York YO1 9NQ 
Image: York Guild Hall, courtesy of Explore York Libraries and Archives 

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Jon Calver and Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits:  Sheila Bradburn, Ian Hardwick, Sam Johnson, Philip Titcombe

With thanks to the City of York Council Libraries and Archives for their kind support and assistance with the research for this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230m70


"German Reservists Marched Through York"

"German Reservists Marched Through York"

The daffodil-lined mount of Clifford’s Tower in York is a remnant of an impressive fortified structure within York’s castle compound, and overlooks a patch of land which was once a symbol of the fear that gripped the country during World War One. On Castle Green, within walking distance of the River Ouse and adjacent to the Castle Prison, was a tented encampment for detained ‘enemy aliens’. 

With the outbreak of World War One came a great deal of prejudice and anxiety across Great Britain. A fear of German spies saw the Alien Registrations Act and British Nationality Act passed in 1914. This act resulted in more than 32,000 men being interned during the war and the authorities in York quickly followed Home Office orders as large numbers of German reservists were imprisoned at the camp. 

These arrests were not confined to those in the military. Namely, in the case of long-time resident of the city, Edward Schumacher, a man aged about 62 years whose son fought for the Royal Field Artillery. 

As the influx of interned men continued to grow, a secondary encampment at Leeman Road was established and by October 1914; 1,200 men were interned there. It soon became a point of interest for many local residents who would gather to watch the prisoners take exercise and pass over food parcels and messages. 

Location: Castle Green, York, North Yorkshire YO1 9RY 
Image: Tented village, courtesy of Yorkshire Museum

Reports of the internment camp from Yorkshire Evening Press, 1914 

 

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits: Roger Farrington, John Hoyland, Shirley Williams

With thanks to York Castle Museum and its staff for their kind support and assistance with the research for this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230mnb


"Peace Day Celebrated in York"

"Peace Day Celebrated in York" - Lendal Bridge, York

The announcement of the armistice on 11 November 1918 was accompanied (for the most part) by huge relief and celebration throughout the country. 

In the summer of 1919 a Peace Day was celebrated, with thousands of people in York thronging the Museum Gardens to watch fireworks, and finding vantage points along the River Ouse and on Lendal Bridge to revel in the river parades, aquatic competitions and diving exhibitions. 

The end of the war had marked the end of four years of conflict, fear and tension. It meant that men and women overseas could return home to their friends and families. 

The Yorkshire Evening Press reported that British prisoners of war, who had been released after the armistice, were treated to a special matinee performance at the Opera House, with performances by singers, dancers, comedians, impersonators and magicians from York and Leeds theatres. 

York’s Peace Day was full of amazing and eccentric scenes on the streets, in the parks and along the river Ouse and its banks. The chief attraction of the day was the aquatic festival and water carnival, lasting, with intervals for lunch and tea, from 10am to 11pm. This included a competition for boxing on a raft, a “walking the greasy pole competition,” and an obstacle race. Unofficial celebrations also took place and the thoroughfares of York were occupied by children dressed as Red Indians, minstrels, and other characters parading up and down providing “music” with kettles, pans and other utensils. 

Location: Lendal Bridge, York, North Yorkshire YO1 7DP 
Image: Peace Day celebrations on Millfield Road, courtesy of Ryedale Folk Museum 

 

Historyworks production for BBC Radio


Presented by Jonathan Cowap 

Produced by Jon Calver and Helen Weinstein

Researched by Sam Johnson and Helen Weinstein

Voice credits: Roger Farrington, Alana Gibb, John Hoyland

With thanks to the City of York Council Libraries and Archives for the kind support and assistance with the research for this feature.

Please find the BBC audio for the feature, produced by Historyworks, when you click on this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0230mnd


Guildhall Drama - Devised & Researched & Produced by Historyworks, Commissioned by DAFX: "To Fight Or Not To Fight"


HISTORYWORKS PROJECT (commissioned by DAFX), performed as a sound installation at York's Guildhall - find the example of the soundscape drama on the link below for our drama: /embed/v3?eid=AQAAABY7eFTKog8A" data-boowidth="100%" data-maxheight="150" data-iframestyle="background-color:transparent; display:block; min-width:300px; max-width:700px;" style="background-color:transparent;">">listen to ‘To Fight Or Not To Fight’ on audioBoom

Fight Or Not To Fight" 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/historyworks/8671861393/in/set-72157633307709326

SYNOPSIS:

In 1916 York was a centre for conscientious objector activists, Quakers at Bootham School and the Rowntree factories.  Aflred Martlew was put on a trial in the Guildhall and subsequently pressganged to the front line in France where he was tied to a barbed wire fence, but still refused to fight.  This story is told through Hansard, Newspaper Accounts, and Letters to the MP Arnold Rowntree.  The drama pivots on the relationship between Alfred and his fiancée,  Annie, and a body found drowned in the Ouse: listen to ‘To Fight Or Not To Fight’ on Audioboo

FULL DESCRIPTION AND CREDITS:

Short drama following the Tribunal of a Conscientious Objector during the First World War. Commissioned as a heritage soundscape by DAFX. This installation tells a story inspired by events that took place in around the Council Chamber of York's Guildhall in 1916. It seeks not to re-enact the words, but instead to take a wider range of voices, using words from the archive to weave together a sound scape of the opinions of citizens about the sanctity of life and death. 


The words are found from Hansard, Friends Records, Yorkshire Press, because the original records of the tribunals were destroyed by the military in 1921. Although you don't get the impact when you hear it as a mixed soundscape rather than the voices dispersed from within York's Guildhall Chamber, please do have a listen.


Imagine sitting in a wooden courtroom where we re-enacted the drama with the only lighting being from the desk lamps, and the voices of the Judge infront of you, the voices of the plaintiff and witnesses adjacent to you from the well of the Chamber, and the voices from the Public Gallery behind you.


Producer Credits: Jon Calver & Helen Weinstein.

Researcher Intern Credits: Sam Johnson, Joe Muller, Catherine Oakley.

Voices: Ewan Bailey, Sheila Bradburn, Jon Calver, Alana Gibb, Adam Gutteridge, Ian Hardwick, Sam Johnson, Catherine Oakley, John Oxley, Henrietta Titcombe, Philip Titcombe.


York WW1 History Trail Produced by Historyworks with free Audio/Map/App


HISTORYWORKS APP HISTORY TRAIL - FREE MAP, AUDIO, APP

EXPERIENCING THE GREAT WAR: YORK IN WORLD WAR ONE

COMMISSIONED BY YORK MUSEUMS TRUST IN PARTNERHIP WITH JON CALVER AND HELEN WEINSTEIN AT HISTORYWORKS, JOHN OXLEY, THE CIY OF YORK ARCHAEOLOGIST, AND INTERN RESEARCH STUDENTS FROM IPUP, UNIVERSITY OF YORK

‘Experiencing The Great War: York in World War One’ is a walking tour around historic York which explores a series of locations within the ancient city walls and the stories they can tell us about York and the people who lived there during the Great War.

We usually think of the conflict as one that happened overseas, in the trenches of Flanders, but this trail will illustrate how the war had an impact on York and its citizens.  Along the trail we will discover stories of war horses, Zeppelin air raids, wounded soldiers back from the front, enemy aliens, and conscientious objectors.

The stories on the trail are the result of intensive research into York’s First World War history by researchers at the University of York, representing a variety of academic disciplines, joining together materials drawn from archives, alongside insights from artefacts in York Castle Museum’s collection and York’s historic centre to tell the global story of The Great War from a local perspective.

The media team at Historyworks have worked closely with the curators at York Museums Trust and drawn on the expertise of the City Archaeologist, John Oxley.  Producers at historyworks have recently reversioned the script and recorded with the BBC's Jonathan Cowap, who is the voice for the audio guide on the app version.

User guide

The tour will lead you around York’s historic cityscape, exploring some of its forgotten stories.  At each stop along the trail, listen along to the audio narrative provided and see the photographic illustration to position you at the location, and to reveal historic  and archaeological objects from the site.  These can be accessed via a script, a podcast, or an app as following: 

Resources

Please find the trail leaflet here which is free to download and print

http://www.york.ac.uk/ipup/downloads/wwI-trail-leaflet.pdf

World War One at Home

 

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