Residency Research

So, the research has begun.  I met with Keith last week, who was indeed a mine of information.  His focus as been about the family history of the brother and sister that these two particular memorial plaques commemorate – Edwin & Margaret Hasse.  He’s been able to track down quite a lot of information and documents about not only the two casualties, but on the rest of the family.

I was intrigued to hear about the letters home that Edwin wrote to his mother, they sound ‘jolly cheerful’ – whether that was Edwin’s disposition, or an attempt to not worry his mother, we will probably never know.  But his older brother, Frank, who also served during the war kept a war journal and few years later, this was published.  It often tells a rather different side, and yet these two brothers were in the same regiment and so were often in the same place – so it can’t just be down to geography that one place wasn’t so bad as the other.

I am still reading through the diaries, there’s quite a lot to read!  But interesting little snippets are coming out, and for now, it feels as though my project is going that way.

I feel like the project could be huge; that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and actually I don’t think I can do the Death Pennies enough justice in the short space of time we have.

The next few days should see a flurry of activity as I attempt to translate the feelings of these diaries into something visual – it’s making me think and work in quite a new way – what a challenge!

Tommy at Seaham.  No, this isn’t connected to the Hasse pennies in any way (as far as I know), I just happened to visit this sculpture at Christmas when I was visiting friends ‘up north’.

It’s interesting though, that despite me knowing I wanted to apply for the residency, at that point I hadn’t even been interviewed, so I didn’t even know if I would get the position, never mind that WW1 would be the focus of my project.

Ray Lonsdale's sculpture at Seaham, Co Durham
Ray Lonsdale’s sculpture at Seaham, Co Durham