Our Heritage Lottery Fund Project

Windy Nook: A School and Community at War 1914-18

At Windy Nook Primary we have always valued the history of our locality, so we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund First World War; then and now grant to help us investigate Windy Nook: A School and Community at War 1914-18.

In 1914 the village was a still a distinct Edwardian community, ‘occupying’, according to Whellan’s 1894 Directory, ‘an elevated and exposed position’ within Felling Parish. The largest employers were local mines and quarries. Our school opened in 1883 and played a prominent part in local life.

During the summer term 2018 our Year 6 children, led by Mr Hawdon, will explore the impact of that terrible conflict on local people. The children will focus on a number of exciting issues:

 

  • Windy Nook on the eve of the Great War; its people and buildings and a gruesome murder.
  • Initial research indicates over 100 Windy Nook men were killed, with many deaths recorded in local newspapers. The children will visit the graves and find out about some of the servicemen buried in St Albans churchyard and recorded on memorials inside.
  • The school log books are held by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and show the close connection of the school to the conflict with teachers joining up, war savings drives and Empire Day celebrations. Notable events are recorded too, such as the death of Lord Kitchener on his way to Russia on 5 June 1916 and the story of young Royal Navy hero Jack Cornwell at the battle of Jutland (31 May – 1 June 1916). The children will explore these stories in more depth using wartime primary sources.
  • Since we are (to) tackling this work in the summer term 2018 we will look at the dramatic events on the Western Front 100 years ago, including the massive German Spring Offensive and the Allied counterattack beginning on 8th August that turned the course of the fighting and brought Germany to defeat.
  • To bring the war years to life the children will visit Heugh Battery Museum, Hartlepool. This was the artillery fort that exchanged fire with three huge German cruisers on 16th December 1914, when 112 civilians were killed, including many children on their way to school. Closer to home, a second visit will take us to Newcastle University to view the Response War Memorial and university buildings that became an emergency wartime hospital: 1st Northern General.
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