During the project, new material was uncovered about life in Cockermouth during and after the First World War, through objects and photographs donated by local people. This is being displayed in an exhibition celebrating the end of our project and can be viewed at Cockermouth Hospital until September 2019. The exhibition, entitled ‘Cockermouth and World War One’, reflects the realities of life for the people of Cockermouth in the First World War – for those who went away to fight and those who stayed at home.
Youth Theatre Project
In the autumn term 2018, the Kirkgate Youth Theatre, led by drama teacher Letitia Thornton, created two pieces of theatre stimulated by WW1 objects from the Cockermouth Heritage Group archive collection.
The Blackberry Pickers
Kirkgate Young Performers group, age 10 – 14, were inspired to create this play by a diary held in the Heritage Group archive and begun in 1917 by a 10 year old girl, Joycelyn Mitchell. In it, imagined letters from the children to their fathers and brothers at the Front are interwoven with scenes depicting their home life during the war.
Dead Man’s Penny
This play, created and performed by Kirkgate Young Actors, age 14 – 18, dramatised the experiences of soldiers convalescing at Cockermouth Castle, (requisitioned as a military hospital during the war) and the VAD nurses who cared for them.
The two pieces were linked through the recipients of letters in the first play, appearing as convalescing patients in the second. The plays previewed at the Allerdale 100 event in Workington on 1st September as part of the Centenary commemorations. They were then performed in full at the Kirkgate Centre on Dec 7th 2018 and in local care homes in February half term 2019.