HARTLEPOOL turned the clock back as the town recalled the days of the early 1900s.
On a packed day of Bombardment anniversary commemorations, the Borough Hall was transformed into a wartime Tipperary Club – the club which was first set up in Lynn Street the year after the German shelling of the town.
It was formed 100 years ago to provide “social communion” such as music, songs, games, newspapers and writing materials to the people of Hartlepool.
A century later, the wartime spirit was re-lived yesterday at the Borough Hall which was decked with bunting.
As guests sat down for an afternoon of entertainment, they were first treated to recordings of songs of the day.
Then, there were songs from the pupils of Hartlepool schools and a collection of archive footage relating to the Bombardment. The group the Young’uns sang their own tunes dedicated to the Bombardment while the Military Wives sang favourite songs from the First World War.
Guests were served the sort of refreshments and entertainment that the troops would have enjoyed during the conflict.
There were sweets on every table – in a wrapper emblazoned with the words of It’s A Long Way to Tipperary – and chocolate to share.
Each table had a hessian bag filled with poppy seeds so that people could take them away, plant the seeds and keep the memory of an emotional day in Hartlepool going for years to come.
Soup, tea and biscuits were served and Christopher Akers-Belcher, the Mayor’s Consort, gave the opening remark.
He said: “It is an absolute privilege to host an event today on what is the most momentous day in the history of Hartlepool.”
He said the day had been “emotional.”
Later, a spectacular new outdoor theatre performance was given in the Headland Town Square.
Called ‘Homecoming’ and created by acclaimed theatre company Periplum, the show used pyrotechnics, specially-commissioned music and visual effects to tell the stories of local residents’ contributions to the war effort, both on the home front and on foreign battlefields.
The day ended with the sounding of The Last Post followed by the ringing of Hartlepool church bells.