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'WOMEN OF WW1' TALK


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Talk:
'Women of WWI, illustrated in the artwork created by Rebecca Grindley'.
Friday 19 October
11.30
Wilfred Owen Story
34 Argyle Street
Birkenhead
CH41 6AE

Refreshments

 

LOCAL STARS BRING WILFRED OWEN MUSICAL TO THE BIG SCREEN

Radio Merseyside legend Billy Butler and former Brookside actor Dean Sullivan are the stars of the forthcoming movie version of the Wilfred Owen musical Bullets and Daffodils. Four years in the making, it captures a live performance of the show filmed at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion in 2014. Created by Wirral songwriter Dean Johnson and the award-winning producer Mal Robinson, it comes to the big screen next month and will be simultaneously streamed worldwide via the internet.

Dean Sullivan, famous for his iconic portrayal of lovable rogue Jimmy Corkhill, directed the original stage version and also features as Owen's hero and mentor Siegfried Sassoon. Billy Butler, who has one of the most recognisable voices in Merseyside history, reads the part of an ‘everyday’ soldier ‘Tommy’.

The film is the prelude to an impressive festival of commemoration taking place across the Wirral this November in honour of Wilfred's memory. Bullets and Daffodils was at the forefront of promoting the Birkenhead-educated war poet's links to the Wirral. Owen's boyhood in the town is explored in the production that also features the voice of ‘James Herriot’ actor Christopher Timothy. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour was an early supporter of the show and gave permission for his music to be included gratis.

The special gala screening will be held at The West Kirby Arts Centre. Admission will be free, but a donation to the Wilfred Owen Story Museum is requested.

“The Floral Pavilion show was very poignant,” explains the writer Dean Johnson, New Brighton was a favourite haunt of Wilfred and his family. He learnt to swim and horse ride there, so performing so close to where he actually played was very moving.”

Bullets and Daffodils premiered in 2011 at Birkenhead Central Library, and went on to enjoy runs in London's West End, and was also the subject of a BBC documentary film.

Friday 19th October 2018 – 7.30 pm
Admission Free (Donation Requested)
West Kirby Arts Centre
29 Brookfield Gardens
West Kirby
Wirral, CH48 4EL
07484 537502

 

WILFRED OWEN CENTENARY FESTIVAL LAUNCH

A packed Wilfred Owen Story greeted the RH Frank Field MP this weekend. Frank kindly agreed to unveil our stunning new sculpture of Wilfred by artist Anthony Padgett. Also present to say a few words about her captivating new exhibition of children’s war poetry was our brilliant resident historian Lucy London.

The event proceeded the inauguration of Frank Field's Wilfred Owen Centenary Festival, which takes place this coming November. Dean Johnson was on hand to sing the title song from the Owen musical Bullets and Daffodils, featuring in the festival.

Dean founded the WOS 7 years ago, so it was a double birthday that it shares with Wilfred himself on 18th March.

The whole event was covered by BBC North West Tonight and broadcast on the evening news.

BBC North West Tonight

 

MAJOR NEW WILFRED OWEN SCULPTURE

A stunning new bust of Wilfred Owen and a unique exhibition of children's poetry from his time in the trenches form a remarkable double celebration at the Wirral museum dedicated to the Birkenhead-educated War poet.  

The Wilfred Owen Story opened its doors on its famous namesake’s birthday (18th March) eight years ago. It has since become the touchstone for pilgrims in search of Wilfred's childhood surroundings and the town's influence on his life.  

This year, to mark the centenary of both the tragic death of Owen and the end of World War One, the museum commissioned a new sculpture to commemorate the one-time Wirral schoolboy who is now recognised as the greatest war poet of all time.  

Alongside the incredible marble likeness created by artist Anthony Padgett, is a poignant collection of poetry by schoolchildren written during the Great War itself, exhibited and curated for the very first time by local historian Lucy London.  

The public are invited to come along to this historic unveiling and exhibition launch. It coincides with the inauguration of the Wilfred Owen Centenary Festival, organised by Birkenhead MP Frank Field

The unveiling and Exhibition launch will take place at The Wilfred Owen Story on Saturday 17th March at 12 noon

Admission is free and refreshments will be served. 

The Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6AE 

For information 07539 371925

 

CHESHIRE LIFE ARTICLE

As we enter 2018 and the centenary of both the end of World War One and the death of Wilfred Owen, the prestigious Cheshire Life magazine recently ran an in-depth article focusing on Owen's time in Birkenhead, and the success and relevance of the Wilfred Owen story.

There were interviews with the museum's founders and many splendid photographs from our display were featured.

Back copies of the issue are available from www.cheshirelife.co.uk.

 

THE HERO BY HEDD WYN

The Wilfred Owen Story has an English translation of Hedd Wyn's poem The Hero for visitors to view.

The winning Ode at the National Eisteddfod Of Wales, Birkenhead, in 1917, The Hero, by the soldier poet Private Ellis Humphrey Evans (known as Hedd Wyn), from Trawsfynydd.

He was killed at Pilkem Ridge on July 31 1917. The Ode has been translated into English by Leonard Shurey from Caerphilly, and published on Liverpool Welsh website http://liverpool-welsh.co.uk/shillong.htm

Thank you to Rev Dr D Ben Rees, The Liverpool Welsh and Leonard Shurey for their kind permission to display the translation at The Wilfred Owen Story.

 

WILFRED'S COLLECTED LETTERS ON DISPLAY

A copy of the very rare Wilfred Owen Collected Letters has been donated the WOS. The volume that was published in the 1960s by Wilfred's brother Harold, is considered the definitive source reference book on the poet’s childhood in Birkenhead. It is believed that a copy that was housed at Birkenhead Central Library is missing, so the copy on display at the WOS may be the only first edition in the Wirral that the public can have access to.

It was donated by Mrs Lynda Rugg of Huddersfield.

 

YOUTH CLUB MURAL NOW COMPLETED

Shaftesbury Youth Club, in collaboration with The Wilfred Owen Story, has created a wall mural within the grounds of the Shaftesbury’s Memorial Garden, which depicts a WW1 battlefield scene, and is inspired by lines from Wilfred Owen's poem ‘The Next War’.

The mural completes the works to commemorate the young people who were members of the youth club, and who gave their lives in the “Great War”, many of whom are featured in the club’s iconic commemorative ‘Golden Book’.

The mural was painted by Rebecca Grindley, who is the resident artist with the Wilfred Owen Story, based on Argyle Street, Birkenhead.

Rebecca, who studied at Goldsmiths Art College in London, says, “It has been an honour to contribute to the club's memorial garden. Wilfred lived just a short distance away and would have known the field. It seemed fitting to illustrate his poem, as Owen was aghast at the senseless loss of youth in the war. The poem I chose was one of only 5 published while Wilfred was alive, and was actually written in July 1917, so it is exactly 100 years since he proclaimed ‘Death was never an enemy of ours!’ The whole experience has been very moving, and I am very proud of the finished mural.”

Members of the public can visit the Garden by arrangement – please ring the Club on (0151) 608 7165

 

WOS IN THE GLOBE


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The Wirral Globe ran a half page article on the current exhibition at The Wilfred Owen Story. The piece explores the possibility that Owen and Sassoon may have met in Merseyside before the fabled Craiglockhart hospital experience.

Both men were under the care of Dr William Rivers. Rivers had recently been transferred from The Maghull Military Hospital near Liverpool, where Wilfred Owen had been a patient that spring. Sassoon had also been in Liverpool at Litherland Army Barracks (four miles from Maghull), where he was putting the finishing touches to his infamous letter of protest against the war.

 

WILFRED OWEN STORY INVOLVED IN LOCAL WIRRAL MURAL

The pictures below show the mural that Rebecca Grindley (Wilfred Owen Story vounteer) is painting at The Shaftesbury Youth Club. The people at the youth club asked that the Wilfred Owen Story collaborate with them in creating their rememberance garden.

Rebecca, who is the artist in residance at The Wilfred Owen Story, has designed and painted the mural. These pictures show work in progress. The first line of Wilfred Owen's poem 'The Next War' will also be part of the mural.



 

SCHOOL MAGAZINE IN WIRRAL LIFE MAGAZINE


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Amongst the fashion and the food of the prestigious Wirral Life glossy magazine this month, it also features the story of the discovery of the special school magazine dedicated to Wilfred Owen.

The local media have been very enthusiastic about The Wilfred Owen Story's latest exhibit and prominently carried the story.

 

ADVISOR EXHIBIT FEATURES IN THE BIRKENHEAD NEWS


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The Birkenhead News featured a large article regarding the discovery of a magnificent School magazine dedicated to Wilfred Owen.

Produced in the 1960s by The Birkenhead Institute, it contains poems by the pupils in tribute to their famous old boy, who was only then coming to prominence as the greatest war poet of all time.

It is on permanent display at The Wilfred Owen Story Museum.

 

REMEMBERING 1917 EXHIBITION

Lucy London's Remembering 1917 is an exhibition commemorating the First World War through poetry and more, in memory of Lucy's Great Uncle James who was killed at Arras on the first day of the Battle.

The exhibition is on display at The Wilfred Owen Story museum at 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6AE, Wirral, UK. Among the poets featured are those who were killed on the first day of the Battle of Arras – R.E. Vernède, Edward Thomas, William Maunsell Scanlan and Alexander James Mann.

The WOS is run by dedicated volunteers and is open Tuesdays – Fridays from 11 am until 2 pm. Please check before visiting to make sure there is someone to welcome you: http://www.wilfredowenstory.com or call 07903 337995

For those unable to visit the exhibition, there will be a commemorative book on sale later this year.

 

HISTORY WORKSHOP

The Wilfred Owen Story will present a History Workshop focusing on the poet’s formative years in Birkenhead. It takes place on Thursday 6th April at 10 am at The Wirral Archives.

Admission is Free

For more info contact:
William Meredith
Archivist
Wirral Archives Service
Lower Ground Floor
Cheshire Lines Building
Canning Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1ND
Tel: 0151 606 2929
E-mail:
williammeredith@wirral.gov.uk

 

DUNSDEN PICTURES FROM THE RICHARD BURTON MUSEUM

The Wilfred Owen Story is very grateful to receive these pictures commemorating Wilfred's time in Dunsden. They were taken by Tom Scott, who along with his partner, run the wonderful Richard Burton On Line Museum.

Burton was a great admirer of Owen, and his remarkable voice can be heard reading some of the poet’s greatest poems on the iconic album The Days Of Wilfred Owen.

 

BULLETS & DAFFODILS LIVE AT THE FLORAL PAVILION 2014

To celebrate Wilfred Owen's Birthday and the 7th year of The Wilfred Owen Story, there will be a screening of the full theatrical film at the museum of Bullets And Daffodils Live at the Floral Pavilion 2014 Starring Dean Sullivan and Billy Butler.

This is the first time the film that was produced for cinematic release has been shown. Admission is free and it starts at 12 noon this Friday 17th March.

For More Info 07539 371925.

 

THE SOMME EXHIBITION ON THE BBC

BBC Radio Merseyside's Sean Styles interviewed WOS founder Dean Johnson this week, ahead of the opening of The Songs of the Somme Exhibition this Friday 1st July.

The interview was part of a special programme commemorating 100 years since The Battle of the Somme, and will air during the week.

 

WIRRAL GLOBE – 15 JUNE 2016


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MAJOR EXHIBITION REVEALS WIRRAL'S LINKS TO THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Cecil Lewis Birth Certificate
Some of our posters for this exhibition

OPENING 1 JULY 2016

A century ago in 1916, The Battle of the Somme commenced, ushering in one of the bloodiest chapters in World War One.

To mark the centenary, The Wilfred Owen Story is mounting a unique exhibition. The museum’s resident historian Lucy London has compiled what is believed to be the definitive list of writers and war poets who witnessed first-hand life on the frontline, many of whom perished in the hell to which they gave voice.

Birkenhead-educated Wilfred Owen experienced the horrors of The Somme himself, inspiring some of his most graphic poems. Serving alongside Owen was Cecil Lewis, who was one of the founders of the original BBC.

Cecil, who was born in Radnor Place, Birkenhead, on 29th March 1898, survived WW1 serving as a pilot in The Royal Flying Corps. He actually flew over the explosion of mines that signalled the start of the Somme Offensive, and was awarded the MC for his bravery.

The commemorative panels also feature Merseyside poet Percy Haselden. Percy joined The King's Liverpool Regiment, and was posted missing in action on 30th July 1916 during the First Battle of the Somme.

The exhibition includes the most detailed account of casualties with a Wirral connection. Curator of the exhibition, Janet Holmes, says, “Lucy's attention to detail is staggering. It is a monumental work of research and may represent the most complete anthology of poets of the Somme.”

The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the First World War. Fought between 1st July and 1st November 1918 near the Somme River in France, it was also one of the bloodiest military battles in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties, and by the end of the campaign the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5 million men.

The Wilfred Owen Story is interested in any stories regarding local peoples’ relatives who may have fought at The Somme, so these testimonies may be added to the archive. They can submit them to info@wilfredowenstory.com.

 

NEW DISPLAY AT THE WOS

Now proudly on display at the WOS are the amazing textile collages of Sonia Bidwell, here presented by our brilliant resident artist Rebecca Grindley.

This display, as with all the others mounted at the WOS, is curated by the museum’s co-ordinator Janet Holmes, who continues to deliver her ever popular and highly informative talks around the North West. She is also the owner of the nearby Rathbone Studio Gallery.

 

VISIT AND DONATION TO COMMEMORATE 100 YEARS SINCE BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Much valued supporters of the WOS Lucy London and Paul Breeze paid us a welcome visit this week. We discussed the forthcoming exhibition marking 100 years from the start of The Battle of the Somme on 1st July 2016.

We were also very grateful and honoured to receive their wonderful donation of two remarkable original works by textile artist and storyteller Sonia Bidwell.

 

WOS AT ST GEORGE'S HALL – 9/10th APRIL 2016

Rebecca Grindley at the WOS Stand
Dean Johnson & Janet Holmes perform Bullets & Daffodils

There were hundreds of visitors to the Wilfred Owen Story stand at The Big Liverpool History Show at the magnificent St George's Hall on 9/10th April.

There was also a spectacular performance of Bullets and Daffodils by writer Dean Johnson and WOS Curator Janet Holmes. This was staged in the hall's former Court Room.

 

FOR HE'S A JOLLY GOOD POET!

 

It was a full house at The Wilfred Owen Story this week as the public came to celebrate Wilfred's birthday and the continuing success of our beloved WOS.

Highlights included a wonderful reading by sculptor Anthony Padgett from his book 'The War of the Poets'; also our very own Lesley Johnson read some of her own moving verse on the subject of 'Futility'.

Our volunteers Laura and Rebecca also gave beautiful readings and the whole event was managed superbly by our museum manager Janet Holmes, whose powerful ceramic 'Somme Tiles' were also on display.

 

WIRRAL NEWS REPORTS WILFRED'S BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL

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WIRRAL GLOBE

Click here for full article.

 

DEFEATED OBJECTS MAKES THE WIRRAL NEWS

 

MALLORY & IRVINE - THE FINAL ASCENT

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILFRED OWEN STORY

 

ARTIST'S CLOSE-UP OF THE OBJECTS OF WW1

In 2016, as we reach the halfway stage of the commemorations of World War One, a unique art exhibition entitled 'Defeated Objects' has opened in the Wirral.

Artist Rebecca Grindley takes a microscopic look at the objects that were crucial to a soldier’s life during the war. Personal artefacts including paper and pencils, tobacco and sweets, to regimental badges and armoury, are painstakingly reproduced in incredible detail.

Wallasey-based Rebecca uses some unusual mediums as her canvas: these include corrugated iron and various forms of wood. These found materials would be commonplace in the battlefields of The Great War.

Most poignantly it is her use of fragments of slate that resonates with the war years. During WW1 paper and ink became scarce. Schoolchildren were issued with slates and chalk as an alternative.

Rebecca feels that the slate produces a dramatic background for her illustrations. The dark grey hue gives shades reminiscent of smoke-filled rainy skies much, like those of the trenches.

'Defeated Objects' is open now at The Wilfred Owen Story

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday – 12 Noon to 2.00 pm. Admission Free.

For further information, contact Janet Holmes on 07903 337995.

 

MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL

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Laura Adam
Wilfred Owen Memorial Plaque

There was a good sized audience and Dympna Gould, Visitor Services Manager at the Cathedral was very pleased with the event and said how it gave a in-depth picture of the man.

We would like to thank Manchester Cathedral for their very warm welcome and kind donation.

MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL ADVERTISEMENT:

Manchester Cathedral is delighted to welcome Janet Holmes from the Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery. This talk will last around an hour and give an insight into a man whose poetry marked a significant shift in our understanding of the impact of war and warfare. Wilfred Owen’s early influences will be discussed and it will also trace his journey from boyhood and his time in Birkenhead through to the trenches of WW1. It also examines Wilfred Owen’s impression of his fellow soldier, how that changed through his experience and how he went on to become one of the greatest war poets of our time.

 

THANKS TO THE REV. ROBERT DIXON FOR HIS KIND DONATION OF THE TOWER OF LONDON REMEMBERS POPPY

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MERSEY POET'S TRIBUTE TO WIRRAL'S WILFRED OWEN

On his recent visit to the Wirral, legendary Mersey Poet Brian Patten paid tribute to his hero Wilfred Owen.

Brian donated a handwritten copy of his poem 'Sleep Now', which was originally dedicated to the memory of the great war poet (who was educated in Birkenhead) when it was first published in the 1960s.

Presenting the transcript to The Wilfred Owen Story Museum, Brian said, “It was one of my first successful adult poems. I think I was sixteen when I wrote it; a few words in it have been changed over the years. Congratulations on keeping Owen's light alive in his hometown.”

Earlier that day, Brian had visited The Ye Old Cracke pub in Liverpool, the scene of his first meeting with fellow Mersey poets Roger McGough and Adrian Henri. Patten recalled many occasions in the bar when John Lennon would be seen having a drink.

The poem ‘Sleep Now' was first published in the iconic 'Mersey Sound' anthology, which is still the biggest selling volume of verse in the UK of all time.

Click on each image for a larger version.

SLEEP NOW
In memory of Wilfred Owen

Sleep now,
Your blood moving in the quiet wind;
No longer afraid of the rabbits
Hurrying through the tall grass
Or the faces laughing from
The beach and among cold trees.

Sleep now,
Alone in the sleeves of grief,
Listening to clothes falling
And your flesh touching God;
To the chatter and backslapping
Of Christ meeting heroes of war.

Sleep now,
Your words have passed
The lights shining from the East
And the sound of flak
Raping graves and emptying seasons.

You do not hear the dry wind pray
Or the children play a game called 'soldiers'
In the street.

Brian Patten's unique personally signed copy of the poem can be viewed in a special series of events commemorating Remembrance Week at the Wilfred Owen Story (see home page for full events list).

 

ARCHIVE OF SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE DONATED

A remarkable cache of rare and highly collectible magazines have been donated to The Wilfred Owen Story. Nearly 50 issues of War of the Nations represent a printed time capsule of World War One as it happened from November 1914 onwards. The collection was very kindly donated by Pamela Parr. They can be perused now at the WOS.

 

WIRRAL HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 2015

The Wilfred Owen Story is proud to be part of this annual event. We will be open from Tuesday 8 September to Friday 11 September for the open events.

For full details of all venues and their opening days see here.

 

WILFRED OWEN STORY NAMED IN TOP MERSEYSIDE MUSEUMS

Coinciding with National Museum Day, The Wilfred Owen Story in Birkenhead has been placed second in the top nine of some lesser-known smaller museums in Merseyside.

Based in Argyle Street, The Wilfred Owen Story opened its doors on the poet’s birthday (18th March) four years ago. It is the UK's only permanent exhibition dedicated to the World War One poet, who was educated in Birkenhead.

Visitors from all over the world have praised the display, which is run by volunteers and is free to enter. The BBC's Inside Out programme also featured the museum on TV.

Solely financed by public donations, the WOS has been the focus of many schools and colleges in Wirral as Owen features predominantly in the curriculum.

The full top nine Merseyside museums are listed here.

 

LAUNCH OF ICE PICKS & VIOLETS TO TAKE PLACE AT THE WILFRED OWEN STORY ON 11 MAY

DOUBLE CELEBRATION FOR WILFRED OWEN'S BIRTHDAY

18th March 2015 marks the 121st birthday of war poet Wilfred Owen.

Educated in Birkenhead, the town also boasts the UK's first and only permanent exhibition dedicated to the WW1 poet’s life and work. The tiny Wilfred Owen Story museum was opened on Wilfred's birthday four years ago and has gone from strength to strength.

Run entirely by volunteers and dependent on donations by visitors, it has had many of the Wirral's schools pay a visit, and also Owen enthusiasts from all over the world.

Next month, over 50 French students will be welcomed through its doors. The birthday double celebration will be marked this year with poetry readings and the screening of a documentary that was made by the BBC of Wilfred's time in Birkenhead. As usual, admission is free to the exhibition and there will be complementary refreshments.

The event takes place Wednesday 18th March
11am -2pm