What was it like to be evacuated as a child during World War II?
This project involved Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn and Berwick Record Office working with Marden Bridge Middle School in Whitley Bay and Glendale Middle School in Wooler
This was a cross-curricular project involving several school departments including History, English, IT, Art and Music. The staff at the schools and the record offices had specialist drama support from Cinzia Hardy and November Club.
The pupils researched, examined and explored archival material relating to being an evacuee, a host family, a schoolteacher and a billeting officer. The experiences of the ‘child evacuee’ and the ’child of a host family’ were the most pertinent as the pupils found they could identify with other children’s experiences more readily than those of adults.
Visits were arranged to the Northumberland Archives to examine and discuss selected source materials. The pupils also met and interviewed local people in Glendale and in Whitley Bay who were former evacuees or residents who had been children during World War II.
Based on the eyewitness evidence and archive documents, the pupils created scenes illustrating evacuation from the perspective of the billeting officers, the evacuees, the host families and the schools.
Project activities included discussion, creative writing, mapping the journey to Wooler, improvisation, singing and the composing of original material by the pupils.
The project culminated in promenade performances at the Marden Bridge and Glendale schools which involved the audience being divided into several groups and conducted from scene to scene by the ‘billeting officers’.