Friday 6th 11am….26 hours to launch
The day before saw the arrival of our amazing Zeppelin art piece, specially built by Keith Roberts for the Zeppelin 1917 season. After “flying through” Burgess Park, the artwork was carefully hoisted into place by Jon and Keith. What an excellent way to kick off our launch. Keith has also contributed another artwork to embellish our project – Silent Voices, which can be seen in Chumleigh Gardens, opposite the First World War memorial stone.
Saturday 7th 10am…3 hours to launch
The day began in a flurry of good-natured activity fuelled by tea and biscuits. Massive thanks to all the hardworking exhibition installation volunteers (Jon, Andrew, Monica, Chris, Susan, Catriona, Judith, Charlie, Mercy and John) who worked tirelessly on both days (Friday till 10pm!) to get the TheatreDeli exhibition up and ready for the opening at 1pm. Wonderful teamwork. and it looks incredible!
Whist the exhibition setup was finished, over 50 parents and children enjoyed “Flying Designing” at the Fun Palace with hands-on workshops to make a Zeppelin, design a rocket and create a paper bird and flowers. Great excitement ensued when rockets were launched outside using plastic bottles, water and air pressure. Thanks go to Florence Goodhand-Tait for running the workshop with Art in the Park, Alice Sheppard, Citizen Science and Sue Smith, Camberwell Arts.
The exhibition was then was formally opened by Councillor Johnson Situ, who was introduced by Susan Crisp, chair of the Friends of Burgess Park.
Later in the afternoon we were honoured to host members of the two families at the heart of our project – descendants of the Balls and Glass families. The Boyce/Balls family includes Mrs Greta Druce (102 years old next month), who actually survived the raid, although, tragically Greta’s two brothers Eddie and Sonny Balls died and brother Leslie never recovered from the trauma. We also loved chatting to John and Barbara Shaw (up from the south coast) and Mark Draper (down from Crewe) all relatives of the Glass family – who lost 4 members that night.
At 4pm, Ian Castle gave a fascinating talk on ‘The Silent Raid’. The talk, illustrated with vivid images, was dramatic, touching, and funny at times. Above all, what Ian gave us was an evocative journey through the mind-set of the Zeppelin commanders and the damage they did to ordinary people and even to their own crews.
Warm thanks are due to our gallant speaker Ian Castle and his partner Nicola Price who overcame many obstacles to be with us. It was especially poignant to hear from the family members during the talk Q&A. It brought home what life was like for bombing victims – no one in the room could fail to truly understand the human cost of war.
Special thanks to John Whelan who has kept us on a steady course, coordinating the researchers and the fantastic volunteer sessions with our supporting partner organisations. John, will of course, be leading the Animated Walk on 21st October 2-4pm (meet at TheatreDeli), which promises to be a fitting coming together of all the research and experiences we have painstakingly gathered. I personally can’t wait for this experience!
The exhibition can be seen on Saturdays through October, and especially at our next talk ‘Black Poppies’, on the black community in WW1. On Saturday 14th, given by Stephen Bourne – book now!
Lastly a huge vote of thanks to our army of exhibition and walk research volunteers:
Joan Ashworth, Katie Bates, Neil Bright, Joy Campbell, Giles Camplin, Christine Camplin, Helen Crisp, Susan Crisp, Carol Field, Oran Hassan, Monica Heeran, Mercy Hopper, Sally Lynes, Joe May, Andrew Pearson, Jon Pickup, Barbara Selby, Frank Silva, Peta Steel, Peter Stevenson, Mercy Sword, Sam Tilling, Marion Wallace, Judith Wardle, Stella Young
Posted by Sam Tilling, 9th October 2017