Returning from the Pitman’s Parliament Project, brass trio Ian Sankey, Clara Hyder and Martin Thomson worked together with pupils from a local secondary school on the Tyne and the Tide Project.
Based at the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House Museum, the group explored tales of tragedy and heroism from the TVLB’s history, including the shipwrecks of the S.S. Stanley and the Friendship – which led to the foundation of the TVLB.
Support came from the Parliamentary Archives – who provided 1850 plans to build Tynemouth’s iconic twin piers, intended to make passage into the Tyne safer for ships from around the world – and from the North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association (Nepia). Founded as a club of ship owners in the North East around the same time as the TVLB, Nepia now has offices around the world, and insures over 200 million tonnes of shipping. Nepia provided the children with a fascinating insight into the dangers of shipping and of a life at sea, as well as providing space at their offices for a theatre workshop run by the Northumberland Theatre Company.
At the end of the week, the group of musicians and children delivered a wonderful performance, featuring pre-recorded songs and soundscapes, Morse code messages, theatre, and even a rap. Performed at the TVLB underneath the original ship’s bell of the S.S. Stanley, their performance was a moving and powerful way to remember that fateful night the Stanley ran aground, and to celebrate the work of the volunteers who have kept the coastline safe ever since.