Teens’ film offers trip back in time

FOOTAGE of a groundbreaking youth project is now on show at Ashington’s Woodhorn Museum.

A group of 50 teenagers was cut off from the outside world at Featherstone Castle in the Tyne Valley for a week in August to get an idea of what life was like in the first half of the 19th century.

The project, called 1840s Heritage Big Brother, was organised by Woodhorn Museum, NE-Generation and Northumberland County Council’s youth service acting on an idea from a group of young people in Ashington.

Dressed in period costume for the duration and without the aid of modern conveniences, the youngsters, aged 13 to 19, lived, learned, entertained and even cooked for themselves in the same way their predecessors would have done in the 1840s.

Heritage professionals and youth workers ensured that the experience was as realistic and challenging as possible.

The project was funded by Legacy Trust UK, a charity set up to create a lasting cultural legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The week was captured on film by a crew of young people, and now the resulting fly-on-the-wall documentary can be seen at the museum.

Juliet Hardy, an NE-Generation creative mentor based at Woodhorn, said: “It was very exciting to see the young people’s ideas develop into a living reality.

“The youngsters brought an amazing energy to the project, and it was so rewarding to witness.

“I was nervous about how they’d actually cope with the challenges of the week without a mobile phone, television or computer.

“However, in spite of our concerns, I think everyone found it an extremely rewarding project.

“I’m sure many people will now enjoy watching the film and finding out more about how the young people dealt with the challenges.”

The film will be on show at the Woodhorn Lane Museum until the end of the month.