Students remember Bombardment of Hartlepool with Durham Cathedral display

STUDENTS are creating a poignant piece of art inspired by the Bombardment of Hartlepool and the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College is creating 100 replica World War One shell casings that will be turned into a 3D poppy to go on display at Durham Cathedral.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Ellie Woolhouse carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Ellie Woolhouse carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.

Staff, students and members of the wider community have helped to make the pottery shell casings which each have a personalised message carved into them.

They are inspired by so-called trench-art from the First World War.

Jeremy Gribben, head of art and design at English Martyrs, explained: “The whole project was initiated through the Catholic Schools Partnership in the North East which we are part of and every year we do something for a huge exhibition at Durham Cathedral in January.

“This year we were given a theme of Wonder and Awe and I immediately thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to do something to do with the commemoration of World War One.

Pieces of work produced by The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College students for the Trench Art exhibition.

Pieces of work produced by The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College students for the Trench Art exhibition.

“I had come across trench art before in Belgium where soldiers with lots of time in the trenches carved into shell casings to create some beautiful pieces of art out of these weapons of mass destruction.”

The school has so far turned out dozens of pottery shell casings in all shapes and sizes.

Project contributors have carved the names of loved ones who died in war on them, the date the first shell landed on Hartlepool, and other personal messages. They will be arranged into the shape of a poppy when they go on display at Durham Cathedral in the New Year.

Mr Gribben added: “Some of them are quite poignant and others are very decorative.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Toni Rogerson carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Toni Rogerson carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.

“When you start something like this you wonder if you are going to achieve what you set out to.

“We have got 90 of the shell cases so far and lots of people are still asking to make one.

“Everyone has got on board with it, I’ve been absolutely humbled.

“It has been lovely to see teachers doing the same work as the students in the same room at the same time.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Liam Hornsey carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition with guidance from Assistant Headteacher and Head of Art and Design Jeremy Gribben.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Liam Hornsey carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition with guidance from Assistant Headteacher and Head of Art and Design Jeremy Gribben.

“It has galvanised us and brought us closer together.”

English martyrs will approach Hartlepool Art Gallery to see if it will exhibit the artwork when the exhibition in Durham Cathedral comes to an end.

It will later become a permanent feature within the school, in Catcote Road.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Laura Kitching carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.

The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College student Laura Kitching carving her clay shell as part of the Trench Art exhibition.