Creative teens take trip back to the Blitz

Northumberland Teens enjoy a good old fashioned wartime sing song at Featherstone Castle'Acknowledgment on the photographs and all other publication should read: � gilmar ribeiro
Northumberland Teens enjoy a good old fashioned wartime sing song at Featherstone Castle'Acknowledgment on the photographs and all other publication should read: � gilmar ribeiro
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CREATIVE Morpeth youngsters have sent their peers into the past to find out more about wartime Britain.

Thirty teenagers have spent a week at Featherstone Castle, near Haltwhistle, to learn about how their ancestors lived in the 1940s.

They dressed, worked and lived as people did at the time — and modern comforts such as television sets, mobile phones, computers and convenience foods were strictly off-limits.

As well as learning about the Second World War, the Heritage Big Brother group staged their own version of the Morpeth Olympics, which was a professional annual wrestling and athletic event that ran from 1873 to 1958.

The whole project was researched and planned over the past year by a steering group of young people from Morpeth.

Member Simon Pickles, 16, said: “We’ve learned so much from delivering this event. We learnt how to connect with local history and use the past to inspire people of our age to take a deeper interest in the place they come from.

“We’ve learned how to compromise, plan, negotiate and be organised, and we have learned to appreciate the sacrifices made by the generations who lived before us.”

The Heritage Big Brother event is connected to the Cultural Olympiad celebrations for the London Games and is funded by NE-Generation.

It is part of the wider Time Travel Northumberland project at Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives that aims to bring the past to life for young people.

Creative Mentor Juliet Hardy said: “Inspired by the archives at Woodhorn, the planning crew have recreated an immersive experience of 1940s Britain, including chores, wartime radios and clothes of the time.”

The scheme is run in partnership with Northumberland Youth Service.

Last year 24 teenagers were invited to spend a week experiencing the lifestyle of the 1840s. The project was documented by film company Act2Cam and photographer Gilmar Ribeiro, and was highly commended in the national Museums and Heritage Awards.

The Time Travel initiative began in 2010 and has offered a range of educational activities.

Senior Youth Worker Ashley Brown said: “What we have seen throughout the life of this project is a special transformation in the young people who took part.

“They have grown and seized the opportunities the project has offered to them to become resourceful, articulate, intelligent and compassionate people. They are a credit to themselves and to Northumberland.”

NE-Generation Programme Manager Ben Ayrton said: “Time Travel Northumberland shows that it is possible for the North East’s cultural sector to work with young people to achieve something remarkable and create a lasting cultural legacy.

“This project shows what can be achieved when we have trust and put young minds at the heart of cultural activity.”