Her Majesty the Queen turns 91 on 21 April and so to mark this event I am looking back to a day in her younger life when she visited Preston Manor. When I give guided tours of the house people are always surprised by this fact, royalty being more associated with the Royal Pavilion. Preston…
Strike a Light has been awarded a grant by Brighton based The Homity Trust towards a new project called Mazel tov Brighton! which will celebrate links between Judaism and Brighton and Hove lives with residents of the Jewish Care charity run home Hyman Fine House, many of whom were born in the city in the 1920s and 30’s and remember it well including shops, people, places and rituals. We aim to start this project in April 2017.
Brighton in the middle part of the 20th century had a pulsating Jewish heart and it was not just in the synagogues. Waterloo Street had a kosher butcher shop and delicatessen, a lively centre of Jewish eating culture. It was Hove’s own Golders Green. Here, cheek by jowl, stood the kosher delicatessen and bakery Chait, the fishmonger Marks’ and the greengrocer run by Jack Caplin.
The times to be there were Friday mornings, as the community prepared for Shabbat, and Sunday as Brighton Jews queued for their hot salt-beef sandwiches and new green pickled cucumber. Sections of the community could be seen taking coffee on the terrace of the Norfolk Hotel (now the Mercure) distinguished by its sweeping Regency staircase and operated by the Feld family.
These memories are especially significant at the 250th anniversary of Judaism in Brighton (Israel Samuel first moving to the city in 1766).In partnership with the charity Jewish Care (of which Hyman Fine House celebrates its’ 20th anniversary in 2017) and Brighton Museum (Community Engagement Service), we aim to explore the museum’s image archive creating a series of 20 reminiscence sessions with residents at the home.
Participants will work with a facilitator over 10 further sessions to create their own memory books, supporting this with personal photos, drawings, memories and characters from their past, and use archival images to support development of these experiences, reminding residents of their lives, and creating a wider context for Judaism in Brighton and Hove. We notice that as our residents age, moving permanently into the care home, they have to significantly downsize, giving away belongings and losing artefacts and memories of earlier life.
We will draw on a recently created app by National Museums Liverpool ‘My House of Memories’ specifically aimed at older people with dementia, and their carers (with added content from Brighton and other national museums), which locates local memories and artefacts, generating discussion about the heritage of the city. This project is a key way to ensure that this generational collective memories isn’t lost, preserving images, memories, as well as helping to contextualise photographs available free for use within the Museum archive, celebrating this rich tradition and heritage.
We will bring in speakers for sessions on this topic to Hyman Fine House including the Jewish Historical Society. We will train volunteers on a one day course, to help with residents’ life research, provide relevant outings to archives and exhibitions. We will bring in 3 freelance artist and heritage professionals to develop this relationship. We will collate these memories into a series of bespoke books with a small print run (and digital downloadable version) which will be available to view publicly, as well forming personal archives of Jewish lives in Brighton.
We will also specifically work with young people from nearby Brighton College whose role will be to support frail older people to engage in the project whilst also learning about Jewish heritage in Brighton. This will form part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. These volunteers will support each of the activities above. Activities will be delivered on a regular basis over 12 months to ensure that participants benefit including residents from Hyman Fine House, other Jewish people living in Brighton, other older people living in the city, as well as school pupils and the wider community.
With over 40 Jewish residents, the majority with dementia, alongside conditions like blindness and schizophrenia, residents often suffer from isolation and depression. Due to this high dependency, it’s challenging supporting residents with activities, staff being engaged with care rather than pastoral activities.
To combat this, Hyman Fine House and Strike a Light (through a prior engagement relationship) work hard to involve residents in planning and decision-making in regular meetings through a residents and volunteers committee, find out what activities residents enjoy, exploring new ideas for activities to try.
Through this committee, we work towards a supportive programme of events, ensuring resident well-being as they move toward end of life care. Activities requested by residents and which we have been able to provide, from horticulture to improvised music and the home ensure that activities become part of a supportive programme of events, offering residents stimulation and focussed activities.
Scheme residents provide evidence themselves and Strike a Light has seen this through discussion, surveys, and care staff feedback. Residents request events and it is notable that creative activities have immensely improved their emotional wellbeing. Recent activities with residents have indicated that reminiscence sessions and local histories combined with creativity are what have made the participants come to life the most, making them cry with laughter, and be more alert and attentive.
From this contact, and resident requests, we can see how important remembering these lives and histories is to each of them for their own lives and sense of identity, as well as the character of Hyman Fine House care home.
As part of this process the home has had visits from Brighton & Hove Museums Service to look at handling collections and made reciprocal visits to the museum as well as enquiries from Brighton College and other secondary schools about pupil involvement in cross-generational Key Stage 3 learning activities. In addition, we have offers of support from volunteers coming from a range of different backgrounds, and who would like to receive further training to help support their involvement with residents, increasing the way they can engage with and support them.
All types of older people will enjoy reflecting upon Brighton in earlier years and specifically about what types of shops existed and the produce they sold.
People interested in history and cultural diversity will enjoy the stories and how they are made available through print and online with the support of the museum service and heritage professionals. And young people will benefit from increasing their knowledge and understanding of Jewish identity and its historical context in Brighton over 250 years as well as enjoying the company of older Jewish people living at Hyman Fine House. Mazel tov!
Sunday 30th October 10am-5pm
We’ll be delivering free drop in Diwali themed activities for Nutkhut’s Dr Blighty project at this family day at the Brighton Dome on Sunday 30th October. A free all day, family celebration, taking place in Brighton Dome and Brighton Museum.
Join in this annual all-day celebration of local arts and heritage. With a multitude of free children’s activities including face painting, an all- day crafts area and story-telling by Banyan Tree Theatre Group.
Enjoy pop up singing and talks, a Zumba workshop & an opening ceremony drumming procession. Plus music from African Night Fever DJ & DJ Task.
Have your head wrapped in the latest styles, design and print and own your own tote bag, then learn to dance Azonto – and of course, don’t leave without tasting something delicious from the food stalls from Africa and Asia.
Part of the weekend-long programme Africa Arts Festival at Brighton Museum.
The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project welcomes booking for a free upcoming WWI community history event commemorating the end of The Somme in Brighton and Hove.
Come along on Friday 18th November 2-5pm to hear speakers, view exhibitions and resources, and enjoy free tea and pastries courtesy of the Gateways to the First world War project.
To book your free place, please visit: http://bit.ly/2du2tPV
Details below and here: the-orange-lilies-community-history-event-18th-nov-2016
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries
Thanks to all who came to our Keep the Home Fires Burning WWI themed Heritage Open Days event last week at Fabrica gallery, part of The Boys on the Plaque project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We were pleased to assemble a lovely group of performers – The Close Shaves, artist – Fiona Edwards, collector – Colin Kirsch and historians – Douglas D’Enno, as well as exhibitions loaned from Gateways to the First World War, The Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and courtesy of Brighton Museum and Royal Pavilion for the event.
We’ve since had some lovely feedback from all those who attended the afternoon on 8th September 2016:
‘Thank you for a wonderful event yesterday. It was all so well put together and very enjoyable.’
‘Thanks for a lovely afternoon yesterday. What a lovely bunch of clients you have there! They really enjoy those events.’
Thanks to all who came!
An enjoyable session today at Brighton Museum at the Pavilion Blues exhibition with participants from our Boys on the Plaque – Conversation Cafes group who meet on the second Wednesday of every month.
Nicola Benge of Strike a Light escorted the group to visit the exhibition, and had a guided talk by curator Jo Palache who explained how difficult it had been to find the artefacts now on display with a bit of detective work to track images down.
Some of the items had been found under the floorboards of the Royal Pavilion much later after the time when it serves as a hospital for limbless men recovering from their time in battle in World War I.
Pavilion Blues: Disability & Identity
From 1916 to 1920 over 6,000 military amputees were treated at the Royal Pavilion, Dome and Corn Exchange in Brighton. To commemorate this centenary, the story of the Pavilion Military Hospital for limbless soldiers is being told in the current exhibition, Pavilion Blues: Disability & Identity, at Brighton Museum.
After the closure of the Indian Military Hospital in the early months of 1916, the Royal Pavilion was refitted to provide specialist treatment and rehabilitation to servicemen who had one or more limbs amputated.
The treatment could take between three to six months in order to ensure the patients’ wounds had healed sufficiently for the men to return to civilian life.
The exhibition carries on until November 2016 and we recommend a visit to the museum to view it!
Next Conversation Cafe
Our next Conversations Cafe event will be taking place on Wednesday 13th July at the Rare Books archive in Jubilee Library (Second Floor), Brighton. Free. From 2.30-4.30pm.
We welcome historian Dr Anne Logan who will be discussing the role of women in the First World War. She specialises in nineteenth and 20th century British social history and women’s history.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Change of event for June 2016 –
Instead of our usual World War I themed Conversation Cafe for the Boys on the Plaque project at Jubilee Library, we’ll be going on an outing for those who can attend, to the Pavilion Blues exhibition at Brighton Museum instead. (Details below). If you would like to attend, it is free to do so, but please RSVP.
We will meet at the front of Jubilee Library on Wednesday 8th June at 2.30pm and walk across to the Museum from there – we will have a speaker (Jo Palache from Brighton Museum) at the exhibition to discuss it with us. Please bring a proof of your address with you so that it is free to attend (for Brighton and Hove residents).
In addition, our new book for June’s session from the library service is available. This is called The Suicide Club by author and ex BBC documentary maker Andrew Williams. This is a dark, disturbing and untold story of the shadow espionage battle during the First World War.
For all readers of Robert Harris, William Boyd and John le Carre, The Suicide Club is a First World War spy thriller set in Occupied Belgium in 1917, and tells the dark, disturbing and untold story of the shadow espionage battle fought behind the lines. Andrew Williams’ novels possess ‘a richness of characterisation and intelligence that few thrillers can match’ (Sunday Times).
More about the Pavilion Blues exhibition:
An exhibition exploring the history of the Pavilion Military Hospital in Brighton.
Our free WWI reminiscence CONVERSATION CAFÉS continue this month, taking place on the second Wednesday of every month.
This month’s session is on Wednesday 11th May at Jubilee Library, Brighton from 2.30-4.30pm. Free and all welcome!
She will give an overview of the hospital’s history from the Indian to the Limbless hospital for those who aren’t familiar with it, and will then focus on some stories of the individuals involved, in reference to the new Pavilion Blues exhibition at Brighton Museum.
From the darkest days of the British Raj through to the aftermath of the First World War, BELONGING tells the interwoven story of three generations and their struggles to understand and free themselves from a troubled history steeped in colonial violence.
It is a novel of secrets that unwind through Lila’s story, through her grandmother’s letters home from India and the diaries kept by her father, Henry, as he puzzles over the enigma of his birth and his stormy marriage to the mysterious Rebecca.’
We will be hosting a series of Twelve Conversation Café’s at Fabrica from October 2015, facilitated by Nicola Benge (Strike A Light), will use Holy Trinity, the plaque and the local area to look into participant histories.
Book your free place by contacting:
Clare Hankinson, Project Manager – The Boys on the Plaque
Sessions organised in partnership with:
- Strike A Light: A local voluntary arts and heritage organisation using people’s life stories and memories to transform public and private spaces, specialising in intergenerational projects and working with people in the third age.
- Brighton and Hove Library Services: Jubilee and Hove Libraries: Lucy Castle and Kate Regester – Community Engagement Managers www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/libraries.org
- University of the Third Age(U3A) Local History Group: A learning co-operative of people no longer in full time employment. With over 450 members and educational, creative and social. Alan Cooke – Chairman of Brighton and Hove U3A and Coordinator of U3A Local History Group. www.brightonandhoveu3a.org.uk
There will be talks from Dr Chris Kempshall, project Coordinator of the WWI in East Sussex project, outings to the Rare Books Archiveand more including discussions will be led around themes inspired by The Boys on the Plaque, including life in Brighton & Hove during WWI, historical experiences of ordinary men and women, and life after the war. We will also consider wider themes about the church in the community, and Holy Trinity’s history with its bi-centennial in 2017. Participants will gain an in-depth knowledge of Holy Trinity as church and gallery over the project.
Information and copies of selected heritage materials found by our research group will be shared with older and younger people through our Conversation Cafe’s and Graffiti workshops, and intergenerational groups at our free Walking Tours, Heritage Open Days events on Thursday 10th September 2015 and Thursday 8th September 2016 and Bi-Centennial celebration in 2017, increasing the reach and impact of our research.
Through this we aim to connect people with local places associated with WWI, through investigation of our locality, sharing our findings through Walking Tours of the area and events based at Fabrica (a Grade II* listed building).
Nicola Benge (Strike a Light) will work with members of University of the Third Age and other individuals to share stories, memories, family history and local history (using information generated by the Volunteer Researchers), and take part in object handling to establish a meaningful history of ordinary people’s lives in Brighton & Hove.
These will be recorded for posterity, inform the project as a whole and will help to build a long-lasting relationship between the participants and Fabrica.
Academics, historians and researchers will be incorporated into our activities, their research and skills enabling a high quality learning experience for volunteers and participants, and significantly enriching our public programme.