Historic moments celebrated in Hartlepool and East Durham

The suffragettes re-enactment group pictured during their performance at the Hartlepool war memorial.

The suffragettes re-enactment group pictured during their performance at the Hartlepool war memorial.

RESIDENTS from Hartlepool and East Durham took a step back in time at the weekend in two events celebrating historic moments.

In Hartlepool, young people marked International Women’s Day by donning period dress from the early 1900s to re-enact a campaign illustrating the Suffragette movement.

The young actors, from town secondary schools, marched with banners from the Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street, to the memorial in Victory Square, where they acted out a scene in which the girls campaigned for votes for women.

During the scene, the boys, dressed as soliders from the Great War, heckled the females, with cries of “Get back to the kitchen!”

Before the re-enactment, the young people took part in an arts and crafts workshop in the Grand Hotel to make flags, sashes and “Votes for Women” banners.

The event was part of a two-year project called Seeds of Change, aimed at encouraging youngsters to explore cultural understanding and the Great War’s heritage.

Meanwhile, in East Durham, Easington Colliery became a hive of activity over the weekend when two special events were held to celebrate the area’s mining heritage.

On Friday, around 300 people packed into the hall for a poignant showing of the Miners’ Hymns, a homage to the coalfield, set to a live soundtrack.

The piece’s collaborator’s US film-maker Bill Morrison and Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson even made it for the grand occasion.

Then on Saturday, up to 300 people visited the centre for an open day, which saw around 20 colliery banners on show, from pits including Deaf Hill, Blackhall, and Murton.

There was also music from Murton Colliery Band and Easington Colliery Primary School choir, as well as performances from local groups including Easington Ukulele Group and readings from Easington Writers.

Other highlights included a Striking Times display as well as memorabilia from Heather Wood, who worked in the soup kitchen during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

The event, which took place in the week that marks 30 years since the start of the strike, was held in conjunction with Beamish Museum, which took along memorabilia including miners’ lamps.

Councillor Dr David Boyes, centre chairman, said the whole weekend went really well, adding: “During the showing of the Miners’ Hymns, people were actually crying.

“It was fantastic – there was a standing ovation.”

He said people came from all over the district, including Blackhall, Shotton and Wingate, as well as Easington for the events, and people from as far afield as London and Scotland attended the Miners’ Hymns.

He said: “Saturday’s event was really good in showcasing our mining heritage.

“Our pit shut in 1993 so everybody under 18 now is not going to know what it was like to have a pit in Easington Colliery, and it’s important to get that message across to the generations.”




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