Historian Grundy tells how World War One affected the North East

Bombardment of Mary Street in Hartlepool on December 16, 1914.
Bombardment of Mary Street in Hartlepool on December 16, 1914.

BROADCASTER and historian John Grundy will bring to life the story of how the First World War affected the North East at two showcase events for teachers.

The events at Hartlepool museum on April 2 and Beamish Museum on March 11 will bring together teachers, local museums, libraries, archives and historical associations which make up the North East WWI Cultural Co-ordination group to explore the impact of the war 100 years ago.

Organised by Bridge North East - which provides practical support to promote young people’s engagement with the arts - the events will inform primary and secondary school teachers about the bombardment of Hartlepool, the huge number of men from the region on the front line, the effort back home in the munitions factories and other wartime industries and how the role of women changes significantly through the course of the conflict.

Helen Green, head of Bridge North East, said: “By informing teachers about the local resources on their doorstep, we can enrich the learning experience of the young people they teach.

“With the new National Curriculum coming into force in September, these events will look at how the First World War can be fully embedded into school learning in a cross-curricula and exciting way for primary and secondary teachers, really highlighting the role North East in local, national and international history.”

Writer and television broadcaster Denise Robertson, will recite moving war poetry at Hartlepool and teachers will also visit the Heugh Gun Battery, which played a critical role in our national history.

There will also be details about the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project, a comprehensive database remembering and honouring the 1,700 men from Tyneside who lost their lives during the War.

This project has uncovered a vast amount of local hidden histories including the story of Richard Simpson from North Shields who was one of only 12 survivors out of a crew of 650 people on HMS Hampshire which sunk in 1916. The ship, built in Elswick was also carrying the Secretary of State for War Field Marshall Lord Kitchener who lost his life on board.

Both events are free to teachers in the North East and will include practical workshops, presentations and talks from a range of local organisations passionate about engaging young people with the subject.

There will also be free teaching materials, digital resources and an opportunity to network with professionals from the cultural sector who work with schools across the region.