Pupils involved in major war project

Cramlington Learning Village students, from left, Taylor Dobson, Morgan Sewell, Thomas Ledger and Matthew Gullon, during a visit to Woodhorn.
Cramlington Learning Village students, from left, Taylor Dobson, Morgan Sewell, Thomas Ledger and Matthew Gullon, during a visit to Woodhorn.

Groups of school students are involved in a major project to study the devastating impact of the First World War on a small mining community.

The pupils – from Cramlington Learning Village and James Calvert Spence College in Amble – have been exploring the archives at the Woodhorn Museum.

Cramlington Learning Village students, from left, Shannon Scott, Megan MacDonald and Sam Robinson researching at Woodhorn.

Cramlington Learning Village students, from left, Shannon Scott, Megan MacDonald and Sam Robinson researching at Woodhorn.

In 1914, it was the site of a colliery employing more than 2,300 men. Nearly 800 of them went off to fight.

To maximise production in support of the war effort, the remaining miners worked extra shifts and explored new sources of coal. This led to an underground explosion in 1916 that killed 13 men.

In the build-up to the 100th anniversary of the war ending, the students are taking part in a creative writing project called Changed Lives, run by the Hexham Book Festival.

After studying Woodhorn’s historic newspaper articles and documents, they will continue researching at school before producing written work reflecting their responses to what they have learned.

This will then be recorded by an actor and produced as podcasts, which will also become part of an exhibition at Woodhorn.

Finally, the students’ written pieces will be edited to create a scripted performance that they will put on at school, public events and at the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic at Woodhorn next summer.

Cramlington Learning Village librarian Eileen Armstrong said: “This is an incredible opportunity to take part in a unique and significant project, which gives learning a real purpose for our students.”