Major public event to mark outbreak of war centenary

Final preparations are now being put in place to mark the outbreak of the First World War with a public commemorative event and service in the heart of the former Borough of Tynemouth.

Between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, August 3, a range of events and displays will allow the public to learn about the war and its effects which would change the world forever.

The event, reflecting the story of the huge upheaval in the community 100 years ago, has been funded principally by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being staged by the project in partnership with North Tyneside Council, with generous support and assistance from the authority, local and national businesses.

The story of the community’s experience of the four years of war is reflected in an exhibition telling the experience of the borough during the war.

It will be open to public viewing on the first floor exhibition area of the Customer First Centre and library in Northumberland Square from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4pm.

The event will also include a parade of military and civilian organisations in a public service of commemoration and dedication in the presence of Sir Nigel Sherlock KCVO, OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, and the chairman of North Tyneside Council, Coun Tommy Mulvenna.

A formal marking of the loss will include a two minutes’ silence and the laying of 2,000 flowers by members of the Scout and Guide movements – organisations that played a significant role during the conflict 100 years ago.

In advance of the day’s events the rector and churchwardens of Christ Church have requested the church bells be rung half-muffled from 9.30am to 10am.

Like all local communities and groups, the bell-ringers suffered great loss in the war with several members killed in the service of their country.

Copies of the project’s acclaimed commemorative book telling the story of the four years’ work and the reaction to the war locally and across Tyneside, will be available to purchase from the project’s stand at the event and are also available to buy (£3) at North Shields Customer First Centre, Keel Row Bookshop and from the project’s workroom and shop in Tynemouth.

The many organisations taking part will provide a fascinating insight into the war and the community’s contribution to the national struggle which cost the borough the lives of nearly 2,000 and left many scarred physically and mentally, in a world irrevocably changed; with all the past certainties and security of an imperial summer destroyed by four years of war, fought at huge cost to the nation’s economy and resources.

The project’s Information Centre in Front Street, Tynemouth, will be open every weekend and on some weekdays during the school holidays until Sunday, September 7.

Two of the mini-exhibitions are on display and a wide range of second-hand First World War books are available to purchase.

Tickets for the new Peter Mortimer play Death at Dawn, specially commissioned by the project, are on sale, and the animated casualty map telling the story of some of the men from Tynemouth killed in major events of the war is shown on a screen monitor, with a narration as the map builds up over the period of the war to mark the home addresses more than 1,000 casualties from the former borough.

Anyone with information about anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.

The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 1pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.

The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.