By Sarah Reynolds, volunteer
Heather the archivist in R.N.C.M. and the woman responsible for creating and bringing the ‘Making Music in Manchester in WW1’ to life, teamed up with Instigate Arts to deliver creative workshops on the project. Together they have picked out a narrative from some of the material I have helped to digitise, and will be working with it in a variety of creative ways to help bring the past to life. My workshop was a creative writing workshop, something I have not had a lot of time for since finishing college, so it was nice to get writing again.
Two images had been chosen from the archive, the aim was to create a piece of flash fiction. Flash fiction is a cross between an extended poem and a very short story, which was a nice challenge as I had not encountered or worked with this genre formally before.
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‘The Man Fro’ Lancashire’: Prisoners of War and Lancashire Musical Donations
Dr Stephen Etheridge
Figure 1. French, Belgian and Russian Prisoners of War forming a band. Including, with the baton, ‘the man fro’ Lancashire’. (Rossendale Free Press, 3 June, 1916)
On June 3, 1916, the Rossendale Free Press published this picture which included an unknown ‘man fro’ Lancashire’, who, the photograph and the newspaper suggests, was the conductor of a ‘scratch band’ of musicians in an unknown German prisoner of war camp. The piece intrigued me not only because it tells us a little about the nature of these camps, but also because the local reporting from Rossendale, in East Lancashire, informs us about the musical nature of people in the regions surrounding Manchester, the very people that would have attended concerts, park events and brass band contests in the city.
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