Friday, 18 September 2015

A helping hand

A post from Jo.

When not liaising with volunteers or adding content to the website, quite a lot of our job involves spreading the word about the project.  We visit local and family history events, taking displays and giving talks.
A helping hand, Battle of Ginchy, IWM Q4210
Helping a wounded soldier, the Battle of Ginchy, taken by Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke, 9 September 1916, 
© IWM (Q 4210)
On Saturday 12th September, I could tell my kids that I was going to work at a castle when I went to mind the stall at the Brancepeth Archives and History Group's World War One event at Brancepeth Castle.  Two days earlier, I had been back to university.   At Newcastle University, Durham at War participated in a conference arranged to publicise the work of the First World War Engagement Centres .  These are academic centres that have a number of World War One themed specialities who are trying to make links between academics and community researchers. For example, Hertfordshire University has taken on the topic of conscientious objectors and is co-ordinating research from communities and academics.

The Tynemouth World War One project, which will be known to many of you, is planning to make use of the contacts that are possible through the Engagement Centres in order to work with Dr James McConnel from Northumbria University on patterns of emigration to Canada and Australia from the North East.  Something that Durham at War has been interested in and has a number of volunteers researching at the moment.

The conference also resulted in making a few contacts who have contributed material to the site. Michael Grant of the Alnwick Museum sent us a profile of John Charles Grant (no relation) from Alnwick who had penned a poem about an Officer Training Corps in Chopwell Woods. Both are now available to look at on Durham at War. As is a page for the Tyneside Irish Brigade Association, in the "What's On" section.

The day was completed with a talk by Ian Johnson, Newcastle University Archivist, about the First World War research that the university archives have been involved in.  To illustrate a number of photographs of Armstrong College, which was used as a hospital during the war, he also took us on a guided tour of the campus.  
Archivist Ian Johnson, Newcaatle University
Archivist Ian Johnson, Newcastle University
He can be seen in the photo here holding up one of the archival photographs (a copy, of course!) next to the doorway where the photograph was taken.  Unfortunately, my camera phone isn't good enough to do justice to the old photo of military invalids gathered around the door having a crafty fag away from matron's stern gaze.

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