Dr Blighty seeks young voices for a recording

poster1Dr Blighty is a big show in May in Brighton Festival, it will  take place in Pavilion Gardens and tells the story of the days when the Pavilion and Dome served as a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers during  WW1.
Part of the show will involve a number of voices reading the letters which the soldiers sent home to their families.  You will be able to hear these on sound equipment hidden in the trees etc – the whispers of the past……………
We are looking for  4 or 5 young people aged between 8 and 14  who would be able to come to the Royal Pavilion for a recording session in March.  The recordings will then be taken away and edited for May so this is a one off engagement!
Details as follows: Thursday March 10th . Meet in Brighton Dome Foyer Bar, Church Street 4.30 pm for an introduction to the project followed by a recording session which  will take place in the Royal Pavilion Music Room from 6pm – 7.30 (latest)
Licensed  chaperones are available but Parents can accompany their children at all times including entrance to the Royal Pavilion.
Refreshments and travel expenses will be provided.
Anyone interested in taking part will be sent letters  to practise reading  –nobody is expected to learn their scripts!
Please contact: Pauline Freestone at drblighty@nutkhut.co.uk  with the name and age of your child and an email contact.

Conversations Cafes sessions coming up

BOTP LogoConversations Cafes still to come as part of the Boys on the Plaque WWI project in Brighton – All free and all welcome!
• March 9th – Meet at Jubilee Library
Presentation by Stoolball England Officer Anita Broad on sport in Sussex during WWI. WWI Book discussion session (part of World Book Day)
• April 13 – Meet at Jubilee Library
Dr Sam Carroll of Gateways to First World War talking about the project. Historian Douglas d’Enno also to present his new book ‘Brighton in the Great War’. We start reading Belonging by Umi Sinha.
• May 11th – Meet at Jubilee Library
Jo Palache from Brighton Museum talks about piecing together the stories of the Pavilion Military Hospital from it’s beginnings treating Indian Soldiers to its work with British amputees. She will also look at Indian Soldiers at the Royal Pavilion for the Dr Blighty project.
• June 8th – Meet at Jubilee Library
Professor June Purvis discusses the Suffragettes role in WWI and beyond.
• July 13th – Meet at Jubilee Library
Dr Anne Logan discusses the role of women in the First World War.
• August 10th – No Session
• September 14th – Meet at Jubilee Library
A final session and discussion of our themes and events. This session will host visitors from the WWI themed Brighton’s Graphic War book project from QueenSpark Books, and a look at an earlier book Brighton the Graphic Novel on e-readers.
 • October 12th – Meet at Jubilee Library

The Boys on the Plaque research group to give a presentation on soldiers from the city of Brighton and Hove to the group.

DR BLIGHTY – Indian soldiers in Brighton


downloadStrike a Light is pleased to announce joining a new collaboration for Brighton Festival with lead companyNutkhut.
The ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience Dr Blighty recalls Brighton’s WWI wartime history, bringing the experiences of Indian soldiers – and the locals who came to care for them – movingly back to life via an immersive walk-through installation across the Royal Pavilion Estate.
Inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home to India, the event will seek to capture the essence of the hospital and those who recuperated here. Strike a Light will be delivering the community outreach section of this project between March and May.
More than a million men travelled from India to fight for the Allies during the First World War, their collective experiences constituting one of military history’s great untold stories. Between 1914 and 1916, over 2000 Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front would be brought to a temporary hospital housed in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion.
Strike a Light will be engaging with community groups across the city to promote the project, research this period of history and gather information, meet with key WWI projects includingGateways to WWI and East Sussex in WWI, set up free creative and heritage activities with groups such as the Black and Minority Ethnic Elders, alongside Indian themed activities with artist Jane Lyster, setting up public talks with Co-Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra of Nutkhut, and attend Dhavinder Dhillon’s plaque unveiling, which honours Subedar Mir Dast, a Indian soldier who received the Victoria Cross, at the Indian Gate by the Royal Pavilion.
To join in with the programme of activities, see here.
Nutkhut says: ‘Thousands of letters were written from the Western Front back home to wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, and it’s the emotion within these letters that Dr Blighty is trying to bring into the public domain. They, alongside the propaganda and the censorship, give us an insight into the lives of these young men, and give these many anonymous soldiers a voice. The project will essentially tell a 100-year-old story, and make it a contemporary one for new audiences.’
See a short film about the project here: https://vimeo.com/152312685
We are pleased to be able to deliver a community strand to this new project and happy to engage with Nutkhut, a world class creative organisation to work on this commission in Brighton this spring.
To find out more, and how to participate, please contact Strike a Light by email: strikealight@rocketmail.com or call 07727 006538

Are you free to record your voice at the Royal Pavilion for a new project?

downloadThe Dr Blighty project team will be holding some voice recordings in the Music Room at the Royal Pavilion on the evening of Thursday 10 March (5.30pm – 10.30pm) and are looking for some older voices to record as part of this.
It would also mean free entry to this part of the Pavilion during that time, in the beautiful Music Room.
Those being recorded wouldn’t need to be present the whole time (unless you wanted to be) but would be needed for about half an hour each. These recordings will be part of the Dr Blighty theatre performance as a recording on the following dates:
 24 – 29 May 2016
Brighton Festival
Royal Pavilion Garden
Brighton BN1 1EE
You can see more about this free performance here: http://www.nutkhut.co.uk/projects/dance-and-performance/dr-blighty
If you’d like to be involved, please email: strikealight@rocketmail.com

Rare Books events at Jubilee Library

Jubilee (Dancing rabbits 27.2.16) - Copy - CopyRare Books & Special Collections Events – Upcoming events at Jubilee Library: 

Talk One: 

The Decameron is a collection of short stories famous for their humour, sexual  explicitness, and anti-clericism, and one of the most influential works in the history of European literature.

This talk by Dr Rhiannon Daniels, who is Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Bristol, will explore the ways in which publishing this text was marketed and read in sixteenth-century Italy within the newly established culture of print. Jubilee Library holds a number
of Renaissance editions of the Decameron which will be available
to view.

Dr Rhiannon Daniels is the author of Boccaccio and the Book:
Production and Reading in Italy 1340-1520 (2009) and co-editor
of The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio (2015)
Saturday, 5th March 2016


Talk Two:

An Illustrated History of a Renaissance Bestseller Introduction to the Rare Books
& Special Collections:

Talk, Tour & Display of some of the ‘Treasures’ held in the Library Collections – 45,000 rare and unique works given to the Library by past residents of Brighton
Saturday, 27th February 2016

Jubilee (Decameron 5.3.16)2 - Copy - Copy

Taking place at:






Brighton Breweries of note

Pleased to see two Brighton landmarks in this list of old breweries of note in the UK just published in the Built to Brew document from Historic England. This links in nicely with our Ale and Hearty project from 2014, although a shame that Harveys Brewery in Lewes wasn’t mentioned.
The two Brighton ones depicted are the old brewery on Black Lion Street, Brighton and a long gone one we’d never even heard of in old Portslade village.
The Black Lion Brewery in Brighton is said to date from the mid 16th century, although the buildings we see in this late 1960s view are probably early 18th century. Door openings on first and second floors allowed brewing materials to be hoisted up and into the brewery. It was once owned by Flemish refugee Deryk Carver who was burnt at the stake in Lewes in 1555 for refusing to recant his Protestantism. He was put in a barrel before his execution in order to mock the brewing profession. The Black Lion was rebuilt as a facsimile in 1974, but the cellars beneath, which may be 16th century, still exist.
The middle of the 19th century was a crucial period for the development of brewery architecture. With the introduction of steam power around the start of the 19th century came the professional brewery engineers who rapidly rose to dominate the field of brewery design and construction. One such practice was Scammell and Colyer who designed the Portslade Brewery in Brighton for Dudney & Sons in 1881. The most distinctive feature is its tall, detached, decorative chimney with a massive base sporting the company logo entwined with barley stalks and bunches of hops.
Read more about beer and breweries in Built to Brew: The history and heritage of the brewery, written by architectural historian Lynn Pearson and published by Historic England in 2014.

Historian Douglas d'Enno joins Conversations Cafe – April 2016

downloadWe’re pleased to add the historian Douglas d’Enno to our Conversations Cafe event for Wednesday April 13th 2.30-4.30pm at Fabrica gallery in Brighton. The event is free and all are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.
This session will also include a visit by Dr Sam Carroll of the Gateways to WWI project. Both will talk about aspects of their activities and experiences alongside discussions about the Great war.
Sessions are part of the World War I focussed Boys on the Plaque project and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
DOUGLAS d’ENNO is a historian, linguist and journalist who has made an exhaustive study of the impact of the First World War not only on Brighton but also on Britain’s fishermen and their vessels (the first volume of his Fishermen Against the Kaiser was published by Pen & Sword in 2010, with research continuing for the second). After a career associated with publishing and – primarily – as a professional translator, he has devoted himself (freelance work permitting) to writing and research.
Through contributions in the past to The Argus and local/community publications, he has established a reputation as a leading authority on Brighton and the surrounding area. Published works include The Saltdean Story (1985), The Church in a Garden (2001), Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths around Brighton (published by Wharncliffe/Pen & Sword in 2004), Brighton Crime and Vice 1800-2000 (published in 2007, also by by Wharncliffe/Pen & Sword), and a number of ‘then and now’ pictorial books on the Brighton area and on Sussex. A book on the county’s railway stations through time is in preparation.
Douglas writes as follows: ‘Although the impact of the Great War on Brighton was profound in many ways, the town was spared any direct attack by the enemy. The fear of spies and sabotage, however, was widespread at first and aliens were an issue which had to be swiftly resolved under new legislation. Allies, of course, were warmly welcomed, with accommodation soon being found in particular for those fleeing the catastrophic events in Belgium.
Men flocked to the colours, with many of them making the supreme sacrifice (the names of no fewer than 2,597 of them – and three women – would be inscribed on the town’s memorial unveiled in 1922).
Brighton made a major contribution to the war effort in two other ways: by the care of the wounded (the story of the exotic Royal Pavilion being used as a hospital for Indian casualties is widely known locally) and by simply being itself: an open and welcoming resort, offering sanctuary, respite and entertainment to besieged Londoners above all but also to many others visitors, from every stratum of society.
In the background, women quietly played a vital part in areas such as transport services, industrial output and food production. Non-combatant menfolk also kept the wheels turning under very trying circumstances. When the meat shortage became acute, the Mayor himself took direct action, requisitioning ninety sheep at Brighton Station for the town which were destined for butchers’ shops in London.
Unveiling the memorial at The Steine on 7 October 1922, Earl Beatty acknowledged that ‘it was by duty and self-sacrifice that the war was won.’ It remained, he said, for those who had survived the conflict to ensure that the great sacrifices of the past, both by the dead and the living, should not have been made in vain. We remember them in this book.’

East Sussex in WWI – Conversation Cafe 10/02

nursesJust a reminder that we’ll be meeting next Wednesday 10th February 2.30-4.30pm at the Jubilee Library for our next Conversation Cafe, as part of WWI themed The Boys on the Plaque project.
This month, we’re lucky to have guest speaker Dr Chris Kempshall who is the Project Coordinator for the East Sussex in World War one project.
We’ll also be starting a new Great War related novel ‘My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You’ by Louisa Young, which is kindly being loaned to us by Kate Regester, the Libraries and Community Engagement Manager for Brighton and Hove Libraries Service.
See below for further information.
East Sussex in WWI:
East Sussex was almost unique in its placement and activities during the First World War.
Being so close to France the difference between the home front and the war front were blurred here more than anywhere else in Britain. You could regularly hear the guns in France on the East Sussex coast.
Soldiers from all over the world were stationed here. Equipment was shipped en masse through East Sussex ports and wounded soldiers returned through them too.
We are investigating the history of the First World War but also its legacy, significance and history today. Our county has a rich history with the war and we want your help in showcasing it. This website allows you to submit your own stories, memories, and images for everyone in the county to see. You can also share and see events relating to the First World War Centenary as well as participate in our survey of local war memorials.
At the end of the centenary period, 2014 to 2018, everything that you see on this website, all of the stories, images and details, will be archived at The Keep (East Sussex Record Office), to ensure future generations can explore the history of East Sussex in the First World War.