We’re off to Westminster Abbey in London this Sunday 11th November for the special centenary commemorations of World War I along with the Royal Family, for our work with Strike a Light-Arts & Heritage on The Orange Lilies: Brighton & Hove in the Somme project from 2016 onwards.
We’re very honoured to have been invited and feel like we’re representing all the fantastic Great War focussed projects in Brighton and Hove on a national level.
Thanks to all our project partners – Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, Fabrica Gallery and Gateways to the First World War, as well as our indispensible volunteers and participants who were involved in bringing this research to life during this time and helping remember the lives of the Royal Sussex Regiment during WWI.
Nicola Benge, Creative Director of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will attend The National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 2018, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. This will be on behalf of those from Brighton and Hove who took part in The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Sommeproject about the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1916 through Strike a Light.
Members of the Royal family, and religious and political leaders will be joined by members of the public who have contributed to the Centenary on a national, regional and local level.
Recognising the huge contribution the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and its First World War projects have made to the Centenary, the Department for Digital, Media and Sport invited HLF to nominate people to attend the Service.
As a result over 300 people who have been involved with HLF funded First World War projects across the UK will be attending the Service on Sunday.
Our Centenary project was made possible by a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which distributes the heritage share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide variety of projects across the UK. HLF has invested £97million in 2,200 First World War Centenary projects.
The Orange Lilies project runs until July 2017, and we have free events and activities taking place throughout the rest of the project.
We have been uploading memories and research to our project website which we’d love you to view.
Visit and view our textiles banner about the impact of the Somme on the city, and a selection of films made by young people about the centenary of the battle in an exhibition of our work at Jubilee Library in the Youth area from now until 4th July.
Visit our project site for further information
Funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund https://theorangelilies.wordpress.com/
We welcome you to a free event day exploring Brighton and Hove during WWI and showcasing two related projects The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme (Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage), and The Boys on The Plaque (Fabrica gallery).
There will also be a book launch for The Boys on the Plaque project, and an exhibition also based at Jubilee Library for The Orange Lilies project.
The event is a drop in event, but welcome to come all day! Free but please book a place – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brighton-hove-in-wwi-free-event-day-tickets-34692314647
Free WWI Community history event marking the end of both The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme, and The Boys on the Plaque projects; exploring Brighton & Hove in WWI.
& Launch of The Boys on the Plaque book Venue: Jubilee Library, Brighton, 11am – 4.30pm – 30th June 2017 Speakers 11 – 11.20am: Introductions by Nicola Benge, The Orange LiliesProject Manager & Clare Hankinson, The Boys on the PlaqueProject Manager 11.20am – 12.10pm: Dr Frank Gray – Director of Screen Archive South East shows vintage film clips & discusses Brighton during WWI 12.15 – 1.30pm: Brighton & Hove in WWI Q & A – chaired by Dr Sam Carroll + Speakers: Dr Chris Kempshall, Dr Alison Fell, Dr Geoffrey Mead & Dr Frank Gray 1.35– 2.25pm: Dr Alison Fell – First World War Women workers and strikes 2.35 – 3.25pm:Dr Chris Kempshall – Brighton, The Boar’s Head, and the Somme 3.30 – 4.20pm:Dr Geoffrey Mead – Laundry maids and Fishermen – Aspects of work in WW1 Brighton 4.45pm onwards: Unveiling of new Battle of Boars Head memorial at The Steine War Memorial, Brighton With:
Battle of Boar’s Head exhibition courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove; The Boys on the Plaque project resources, WWI exhibitions and resources from Brighton & Hove Libraries, Gateways to the First World War, and The Royal British Legion. Venue – Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE
Queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Websites:
boysontheplaque.wordpress.com The Orange Lilies project is delivered by Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage The Boys on the Plaque project is delivered by Fabrica gallery Both in Partnership with the following organisations: Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and Gateways to the First World War with support from Heritage Lottery Fund
The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free Event Day Free WWI Community history event marking the end of both The Orange Lilies project, and The Boys on the Plaque project marking the Somme centenary, and exploring Brighton & Hove in WWI. Venue: Jubilee Library, Brighton, 11am – 4pm – 30th June 2017 Speakers Introductions by Nicola Benge, The Orange Lilies Project Manager and Clare Hankinson, The Boys on the Plaque Project Manager
Dr Frank Gray, Director of Screen Archive South East shows vintage film clips & discusses Brighton during WWI
Brighton & Hove in WWI Q & A session: chaired by Dr Sam Carroll + Speakers: Dr Chris Kempshall, Dr Alison Fell & Dr Frank Gray Dr Alison Fell – First World War women workers and strikes
Dr Chris Kempshall of East Sussex in WWI – Talk on Brighton and The Battle of Boars Head and speakers still TBC With:
Battle of Boar’s Head exhibition courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove; WWI exhibitions and resources from Brighton & Hove Libraries, Gateways to the First World War, and The Royal British Legion. Venue –Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE Queries to: email@example.com theorangelilies.wordpress.com https://boysontheplaque.wordpress.com
The Orange Lilies project managed by Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage aims to highlight the city’s experience of living through The Somme. Through the project, we are gathering and contextualising material and information for city residents, school teachers, researchers and those interested in WWI.
It comprise interviews, newspaper reports & other printed items, photographs, objects and documents held at public libraries, museums and the The Keep archive. Part of the project entails finding relatives and family members with photos and memories of people from the city who served during the Somme, or lived in Brighton and Hove at the time of the batyle between 30th June 1916 and 18th November 1916.
June is a lovely Hove based lady in her early 90s involved with an older people’s group called Memories Past, who married into the Rayner family in the 1940s. Meeting June Rayner not so long ago, we got talking about her husband who was in Burma in World War II, and then his father a Portslade born man called Issac Rayner who served in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 with the Royal Sussex Regiment.
Issac was born in the 1890s and lived in 35 South Street, Portslade village, part of Brighton and Hove in a house that no longer exists. The photo (to the left and right), whilst not dated, was taken in Portland Road (the road joining Portslade to Hove) by H.W Tubb, a well known photographer at the time with an established business in the area.
Henry William Tubb’s home in Portland Road also served as his studio and business premises. Henry Tubb was keen to point out in his advertisements that his Portland Road Studio was located opposite Portslade Railway Station.
Henry Tubb set up a photographic studio in Portland Road, Hove, around 1899. Describing himself as an “Artist Photographer”, Henry Tubb took studio portraits at his Portland Road Studio, but he was also an “outdoor photographer”, offering to bring his camera along to “Garden Parties, Wedding groups, etc., ..by appointment”. Henry Tubb was also keen to advertise his expertise in making photographic enlargements.
Tubb’s advertisements proclaimed “Photographs in all Styles – Enlargements of all Description” and the publicity on the reverse of his cabinet and carte-de-visite portraits, under the heading “ENLARGEMENTS TO ALL STYLES”, assured his customers that “the negative of this photograph is preserved from which enlargements or further copies can always be obtained.” To supplement his photography business, Henry Tubb also made picture frames at his Portland Road premises. (Taken from http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk).
Issac (also known as Ike) joined up with the Royal Sussex Regiment at a date unknown during the Somme and became a machine gunner in the trenches there. He suffered inordinately in this time and was buried alive whilst tunnelling, being rescued by army colleagues digging him out. Once recovered from this ordeal, he was sent back to the front, where he was then gassed.
From the British Legion website ‘the Battle of the Somme also saw several different weapons being used including mines, poisonous gas and machine guns. Some of the larger machine guns needed 12 men to operate them. The best known innovation of 1916 was the tank, first used in battle at Flers on 15 September 1916. Armoured, tracked vehicles were designed to cross trenches, crush barbed wire and give direct fire support’.
Issac Rayner remained in the army until at least the end of 1919. We can’t be sure, but from the photos seen of him in colonial army wear, posed with other Royal Sussex Regimental soldiers also in shorts, and another portrait shot of Issac with a pith helmet, it seems possible that he was part of a Battalion transferred to India in 1917. Pith Helmets were widely used by the British Army in the Middle East, India and Africa to protect delicate British complexions from the fierce sun.
In this postcard sent home to his parents, dated 1st August 1919, Issac is pictured second row from the top, third from the left, clearly identified by his large moustache, something he hadn’t had before enlisting or later when he returned home.
The back of the card reads ‘To mother and Dad, from your affectionate and loving son. I.Rayner xxx Sent to Mrs Rayner, 35 South Street, Portslade, Sussex , England
We don’t know anything further of his time with the Royal Sussex Regiment, only that he did survive the war and his injuries. Many soldiers who survived being gassed in the tranches died very young, so Ike was fortunate in this aspect.
Returning to Portslade, Issac met and married Florence Jane Packer in the early 1920s who at the time lived at 6 Crown Road (see right), Portslade, pictured here in the back garden of the house at a date unknown.
It isn’t known if they knew each other before the war, however Florence was also from a local Portslade family and had grown up in the house in Crown Road along with her parents (see right – Great Grandad Packer) and siblings.
Returning to Portslade, Issac lived until 77, dying at the home inherited by him and Florence from the Packer side of the family at Crown Road, Portslade on 14th November 1962.
Florence it is believed was a strict woman, who wasn’t given to smiling too often. She did lose two of her young nephews (Michael and Donald Packer) in WWII. Both sailors, as were many in the Packer family during the second world war. The two men were on separate naval ships which were torpedoed by German boats, so this may be connected. She died much before her husband Issac but it is unsure when.
Issac and Florence had two sons, Cyril born in 1922, followed by the younger son Dennis, who was born on 6th of September 1926, and a (possibly illegitimate) niece brought up as a daughter of the Rayner family, named Iris.
The photograph below was taken by Stacy Ward, a portrait photographer who took over the business and premises from HW Tubb (and premises moved to 39 Station Road) who earlier took Issac Rayner’s photo in the mid 1900s.
The children all married local Portslade people. Issac and Florence lived in the house at Crown Road (near Fishersgate) until the 1960s.
Dennis was posted to India during World War II age only 19. Below is a snap of him as a private in Poona (now Pune) south of Mumbai, India.
June met and married Dennis Rayner (Issac’s younger son) in the 1940s and they had four sons who all still live in the area. Here she is as a young girl with toy pram, and later, aged around 15 in a portrait photographic shot around the time of meeting Dennis Rayner.
June and Dennis were married a long time until Dennis sadly passed away.
Here you can see Dennis with two friends at his retirement party in 1991.
1916 – At a time of war and political uncertainty, Conscientious Objectors were alternately praised and vilified. When Catherine Marshall goes to visit her fellow activist – and lover – Clifford Allen at Newhaven Fort, he is insisting on refusing to fight, which could send him back to gaol and to an early grave. Can she save him while still holding on to their ideals?
In a play full of modern resonances, the story asks what is worth fighting to the death?
Co -production by Zap Art & InSite (Veronica Stephens & Sara Clifford), directed by Nicola Blackwell.
There will also be a FREE Pre-show seminar on Conscientious Objection in WW1 hosted by Gateways to The First World War, Zap Art & InSite at The Marlborough Theatre from 6pm-7.30pm. Seminar tickets must be booked separately here:
This free and open seminar brings together three historians to present their research on conscientious objectors and military tribunals in the First World War. The main aim of this event is to elicit an academic discussion about this important and historically controversial First World War heritage in advance of a free showing of Sara Clifford’s The Tribunal. Each event must be booked separately.
Jenny Flood (Project Officer, Newhaven’s War, HLF funded project)
Dr Chris Kempshall (Project Officer for East Sussex County Council’s First World War Centenary Project)
The Revd. Dr Clive Barrett (Author of Subversive Peacemakers – War Resistance 1914–1918: An Anglican Perspective, chair of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and the Peace Museum in Bradford)
Talks will be followed by a Q and A session.
Funded by :
Arts Council England, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Newhaven and Seaford Town Council
Gateways to the First World War, Charleston Trust, Newhaven Fort, The Marlborough Theatre
Blind Veterans UK, East Sussex County Council, Seaford Library, Newhaven Salvation Army Hostel Association, IWM Centenary Partnership Project.
Suitable for aged 12 years +
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or if you have any special access requirements.
Our project, The Orange Lilies – Brighton and Hove Soldiers in the Somme, in Brighton and Hove continues this autumn with a series of free activities and outings for our project participants and volunteer research group, which is led by our Research Coordinator Ross Hammond.
All our activities and events are on our project website here. You can also check Strike a Light’s Facebook page for events. If you would like to get involved with The Orange Lilies project as a participant or volunteer, or have memories or artefacts about The Battle of Boar’s Head, or Brighton and Hove memories of the Somme, then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
The project focuses on the city’s legacy of the Somme and a significant event on the eve of this (where huge numbers of Brighton soldiers fell), The Battle ofBoar’s Head (also known as The Day that Sussex Died), as a key part of WWI, and its’ subsequent impact on Brighton and Hove.
From June 2016 – June 2017, intergenerational arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light and partners will – through key activities, training, collaboration and mentoring – work with young people to commemorate the effects of the Battle of the Somme on the city, uncovering Brighton’s Great War heritage for future generations.
Visit our The Orange Lilies project website here, get in touch and share family history, join in and receive training as a volunteer researcher and attend activities, events and films, all commemorating Brighton and Hove in the Somme.
Email: email@example.com and we’ll get back to you soon.
With thanks for the QueenSpark Books Letter in the Attic project for permission to use the above image. The Orange Liliesproject is delivered by
In Partnership with the following organisations:
with support from
Find out more about our series of free Heritage Open Days events in Brighton from 8th-11th September:
Heritage Open Days – Brighton (Free) Thursday 8th September:
A creatively curated daytime event, with workshops, exhibitions, talks, and a free cafe.
The event taking place on Thursday 8th September1-5pm 2016 is part of national Heritage Open Days events. During this special drop-in event, Fabrica opens its doors to the public for an afternoon of stimulating and engaging activities and exhibits. This free event includes creative workshops, heritage activities and screenings.
Book your free place here Friday 9th September:
Dr Geoffrey Mead will lead an early evening tour for The Boys on the Plaque project, looking at the stories from soldiers on a WWI memorial plaque (based at Fabrica gallery), who with connections to this area of the city. The tour runs from 6-7.30pm and starts from Fabrica gallery, 40 Duke Street, Brighton BN1 1AG. The event is free but booking is necessary here. https://boysontheplaque.wordpress.com/
Friday 9th & Saturday 10th September:
Ale and Hearty – brewing & ale exhibition
Friday 9th from 1-7pm & Saturday 10th from 1-5pm
An exhibition specially for Heritage Open Days which focuses on the history of brewing in Lewes, East Sussex and its related industrial and agricultural links from the 18th Century to the present day, a period of some 200 years. The exhibition looks at working life in relation to Breweries, agricultural workers and rural life and trades.
Find out more here
A project in partnership with Harveys Brewery. The Orange Lilies – Brighton and Hove in the Somme
Strike a Light, in partnership with Brighton & Hove Library and Information Service, and Fabrica showcases its WWI themed project The Orange Lilies – Brighton and Hove Soldiers in the Somme.
The project focuses the city’s legacy of the Somme and a significant event on the eve of this (where huge numbers of Brighton soldiers fell), The Battle of Boar’s Head (also known as The Day that Sussex Died), as a key part of WWI, and its subsequent impact on Brighton and Hove.
Come along and find out more about this epic piece of local history, and find out ways to get involved with the project, learn about film making and gain research skills.
These are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage is a community interest company. We focus on exploring life stories and history through creative projects. Based in Brighton, Strike a Light works with and for the wider community across Sussex