Zeppelin 1917 Events – 14th October

How big is a Zeppelin?

In order to answer that question the Burgess Park Cricket Club helped lay out the size of Zeppelin L45 onto the park on Saturday morning using their boundary rope. In fact, we discovered the Zeppelin size is larger than a cricket pitch boundary! This aerial photograph, thanks to Damian Laurence’s drone piloting, shows the Zeppelin taking up the whole of the great lawn – as long as a street.

Photograph: Damian Laurence

Many thanks to Everton for organising this with the cricket club, and to Jo and Lewis from Southwark Parks for helping to move the huge amount of rope.

Cricket team loading the rope at the cricket club

Black Poppies Talk by Stephen Bourne

On Saturday afternoon local historian and author Stephen Bourne gave a presentation  telling the story of how black people in Britain joined up for the forces and played a variety of roles in WWI. Unlike the USA, Britain did not segregate servicemen by colour. Stephen showed photographs from different regiments with black servicemen and explained the social history of black people as part of local communities in the UK prior to WWI. As the war progressed more forces were also drawn from the colonies and came to fight in Europe.  Stephen’s book Black Poppies gives plenty of detail on the military and civilian wartime experience of black Britons, from the trenches to the music halls.

Stephen concluded his talk by outlining his research into the role of the police during the Zeppelin air raid on Calmington Road. The police officers who rescued people from the damaged buildings were all awarded medals. The role of the police as hidden heroes is recognised in the Zeppelin 1917 exhibition.

Stephen Bourne with the “Local Police Heroes” he contributed to the exhibition

1917 Knees Up

Vesta Tilley, called ‘Britain’s greatest recruiting sergeant’, famous music hall chorus was:

'Oh we don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go
For your King and your Country both need you so’

So quite a lot of social pressure to join-up!

Quipping Quizmaster Mike Raffone

We rounded up the with an evening with quizmaster extraordinaire Mike Raffone and a proper singalong from Mister Meredith (both sporting excellent moustaches). With several competitive quiz teams, including some of our volunteer researchers, as well as Glengall Wharf Garden and other local volunteers, the standard was high on the local knowledge, but less sure on the famous singers of the period.

Mister Meredith then took us through some well-known songs of the period – recruiting songs and music hall numbers – with the official words, and sometimes the soldiers’ own versions of the songs!

Musical Maestro Mister Meredith

Q: Who composed “Keep the Home Fires Burning” ?

A: Composed by Ivor Novello with words by Lena Guilbert Ford in 1914

 

Posted by Susan Crisp, 18th October 2017

One thought on “Zeppelin 1917 Events – 14th October

  1. These events really help to bring the past alive and to bridge the gap between our lives now and the people living locally 100 years ago. Thanks for the super write-up in the blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *