Armistice centenary 2018 – Strike a Light attends memorial at Westminster Abbey

45284353_282863865696332_219482063005286400_nWe’re off to Westminster Abbey in London this Sunday 11th November for the special centenary commemorations of World War I along with the Royal Family, for our work with Strike a Light-Arts & Heritage on The Orange Lilies: Brighton & Hove in the Somme project from 2016 onwards.

We’re very honoured to have been invited and feel like we’re representing all the fantastic Great War focussed projects in Brighton and Hove on a national level.

Thanks to all our project partners – Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, Fabrica Gallery and Gateways to the First World War, as well as our indispensible volunteers and participants who were involved in bringing this research to life during this time and helping remember the lives of the Royal Sussex Regiment during WWI.

 

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Our final event!

20170630_170652-e1499443215907.jpgWe marked the end of our The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project with a big community history event on 30th June 2017 at Jubilee Library in Brighton.

It was a roaring success with a great variety of speakers and around 150 visitors to the drop in day, listening to presentations, visiting stalls and exhibitions at the venue, followed by the unveiling of a memorial stone to those who fell at The Battle of Boar’s Head on 30th June 1916.

Just to say a huge thank you for your support and delivery for The Orange Lilies project since June 2016.
Your time and expertise has really served to make the project happen and is so very much appreciated. I really can’t thank you enough for your involvement!
We are still uploading research to the project website, so things won’t end right away, but in terms of project delivery we are now complete.
I must say it’s come round far too soon and I feel in some ways like we’ve just got started, so am sad to finish, but on to projects new for now.
We’ve had great feedback from visitors for the day in general and also each specific session. The day was a real success and we had around 150 visitors ongoing through the day to hear your presentations. I hope you enjoyed it too!
‘I was glad to catch Geoffrey Mead’s talk. Fascinating!’
‘The speakers were of an extremely high standard’
‘Chris Kempshall’s talk was my favourite part’
‘A fascinating day, thank you!’
‘Really enjoyed it’
‘The speakers were all inspirational, amusing, entertaining, relevant and inspiring’
‘It was an illuminating and fascinating day of events’
‘All the presentations (including the Q+A) were of an extremely high standard’
‘Many congratulations on a superb project’
If you’d like to join the Strike a Light mailing list for future project activities and events, do let me know and I’ll add you to the newsletter. 
To keep up with us in other ways you can ‘Follow’ the Strike a Light website – https://strikealight.org/
or on Twitter – @strikerlight

 

The Orange Lilies

The Orange Lilies project runs until July 2017, and we have free events and activities taking place throughout the rest of the project.

We have been uploading memories and research to our project website which we’d love you to view.

Visit and view our textiles banner about the impact of the Somme on the city, and a selection of films made by young people about the centenary of the battle in an exhibition of our work at Jubilee Library in the Youth area from now until 4th July.

Visit our project site for further information

Funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund

https://theorangelilies.wordpress.com/

Arthur Edgar Virgo

Arthur Edgar Virgo was born in Portslade in 1885,  his parents had been married for two years and had a daughter called Minne. Arthur’s fathers side came from a long line of Portslade residents dating back to around the late 18th century.

At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at 9 Elm Road. Today, it is listed as a three bedroom house however with the seven occupants at the time Arthur was living there it would have been cramped. Minnie was joined by brothers: Arthur and Lewis. They were joined by their widowed grand mother Charlotte and her son Edgar.

Arthur enlisted as a Private in Eastbourne  with the Royal Sussex Regiment- 12th Battalion. He died on the Rue de Bois on the 30th of June 1916. It is unclear if he was killed in action or died from his wounds. In the UK Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects  there is a handwritten entry in the ‘When and Where died’ sections states death presumed. This suggests his body and remains are unknown. 

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Loos Memorial- Pas de Calais France.

Arthur is commemorated at Loos memorial (Panel reference 69-73 Stone number 72) and at the Church of St Nicholas in Portslade.

Our exhibition is open to the public!

20170525_102209.jpgWe’ve just set up the textiles part of our BFEST 2017 Youth Arts exhibition at Jubilee Library in Brighton, exploring Brighton and Hove during the Somme, and made with young people, and artist Rosie James. It’s looking great!
 
We will also be showing the short films made with young people for The Orange Lilies project, and they should be operation from tomorrow.
 
The BFST festival last for a week and offers free activities across the city created by, with and for young people.
It starts with the launch on Saturday 27th May at The Level so come down and see the exhibition. It’s on until 4th July.

Albert Sambucci – A Brighton Italian fighting with the British

 Alberto Sambucci was born in Brighton in 1892 to parents, Philiomena and Loreto, who had emigrated from Italy. “He was married and had a son, Loreto, who was only two when his dad was killed. He also had a baby daughter, Philomena, who was born after his departure for France so he never saw her.”
Written account by Alberto’s grand daughter as published on: ‘The Wartime Memories Project – The Great War’
In 1891 the Sambucci family was living in 4 rooms at 16 Spa Street, Brighton. Spa Street was demolished in the late 1890s under a slum clearance scheme, and replaced by Tillstone Street, which runs from Park Hill at the bottom of Queen’s Park to Eastern Road. Sometime before 1901, the family moved to Ivory Court in Ivory Place, where Albert spent much of his life. Like other immigrants of Italian descent in Brighton, the Sambuccis set up an ice cream business.
At the time of the 1911 Census, the Sambucci family were living in 4 Ivory Court (listed as having 3 rooms). Albert was aged 19 and living with his two younger sisters, Clara (aged 13) and Nellie (aged 9). His mother is recorded has being head of the family and the father’s name is crossed through. This could indicate that he had died or was no longer living with the family, or in another house nearby, as other Sabuccis are listed on the same census on the same street (Ivory Court). There is also a Loreto Sambucci recorded as living in Lewes during the 1911 census too.

In 1911 the census form was completed by the residents of a property and later checked by an enumerator. Interestingly the form for 4 Ivory Court was completed and signed by Albert’s elder brother, Joseph Sambucci, who didn’t live there.  Joseph’s postal address beneath his signature isn’t clear. It looks like he wrote 2 Ivory Court and changed the “2” to a “4”. However, he was actually living close by at No 1. Ivory Court.  Why did Joseph fill in the form? Perhaps his parents weren’t literate or maybe their command of English wasn’t good enough and they required their eldest son to complete the form for them.

However, another strange feature of the 1911 census form is that Loreto’s name was crossed out in red by the enumerator and he was not included in the totals at the bottom of the form. This suggests that he wasn’t actually living on the premises and that maybe he had been included by mistake. Florrie was listed – again in red ink – as head of the family.

In fact the reason why Joseph completed the Census form for his mother and the explanation for Loreto’s absence is rather a startling one and can be found in London Daily News of March 25th 1911. The paper reported that Loreto had been charged with being drunk while in possession of a loaded revolver and he was sentenced to one month imprisonment. As the deadline for the Census return was 2nd April 1911, he would have been in prison when the Census was taken, which is why the enumerator would have crossed out his name.

Albert Sambucci birth
A previous census recorded Albert has having two older sibilings. His brother Joseph in 1911 Joseph ( aged 24) was living at 1 Ivory Court with his wife Blanche ( aged 22) and baby daughter Margareta (3 months).
His sister Mary (or maria) is not listed and must have had alternative lodgings. She married John Wilcox in 1921 and also lived at Ivory Place with her own family in the 1920’s.

In 1911 Joseph Sambucci (24) is living at 1 Ivory Court with his wife Blanche (22) and baby daughter Margareta (3 months) Joseph was born in Brighton & Blanche came from Middlesborough. They had been married for 2 years with the one child in 1911.  Joseph is listed as an employer & his business is Ice Cream Manufacturer – run from home. Blanche is a boarding house waitress.

Ivory Court was off Ivory Place, which runs parallel to Grand Parade between Morley Street and Richmond Parade. This area of Brighton was a slum area and the courts often contained the worst housing in the town.

Ivory Place

Ivory Place, 1935, Copyright The Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton & Hove

Ivory Court was on Ivory Place, which runs parallel to Grand Parade between Morley Street and Richmond Parade. This area of Brighton was a slum area and the courts often contained the worst housing in the town.
The Sambucci family seems to have occupied several of the tenements in Ivory Court. No. 4, where Albert lived, only had 3 rooms, which, although not unusual at the time, may have made it a bit crowded. In 1911 Joseph was listed at living at No. 1 Ivory Court and Albert’s father, Loreto was listed in the 1901 Census and a 1902 street directory as variously living at number 2 and no 4 Ivory Court, so it is possible that, over time, the family rented several of the tenements in the court and spread themselves across the properties.
“Nobody moved into the area, because nobody moved out. Neighbours used to sit on the step and talk to passers by. This is why people didn’t want to move; the community was there. They married people who lived almost next door. The community feeling went when we were moved out to Whitehawk.” Carlton Hill Tea Party held at the Lewis Cohen Urban Studies Centre at Brighton Polytechnic May 25th 1984

Albert’s Marriage

In 1912 Albert married Virginia Panetta, from Lewes. Virginia was born in about 1895 in Italy but was now resident in the UK. She lived at 3 Malling Street with her Mother Maria Panetta, who was 40 years old in 1911 and head of the family. Virgina had a sister Emilia, who was 13 in 1911 and a brother Eugenie, who was 7; both of them went to school. Also living at the house was 61 year old Benedette Panetta, who is described as a general servant and domestic worker.

Interestingly Emilia was born in Dundee and Eugenie in Broughty Ferry (a suburb in Dundee), so the Panetta family must have moved down from Scotland in the previous 6-7 years. On the 1911 Census Maria and Virginia’s occupations were shown as “assisting in business”. Maria was also described as “employer” and the 1911 Kelly’s Sussex Street Directory lists her as a confectioner.

When Virginia married Albert she was 17 years old and he was 19 or 20. From Albert’s War Record it looks like they set up house at 3 Ivory Buildings, round the corner from his home in Ivory Court.

The Sambucci Family – Ice Cream Vendors

On the 1901 census Loreto Sambucci is recorded as being an ice cream vendor. On the 1911 census the family business continues to be listed as an Ice Cream Business. Albert and his mother Philiomena are listed as assisting in the business and Albert’s older brother Joseph as being an employer and ice cream manufacturer, and was possibly head of the business as a result of his fathers absence. The ice cream business is recorded as being run from home and the ice cream sold on the beach front.

“The penny capitalists

The opportunities offered by the holiday industry also encouraged a proliferation of small and miniature businesses, the ‘penny capitalism’ that flourishes in this kind of setting.
There was endless contemporary comment, in tones ranging from affection to exasperation, on the impossibility of promenading on the sea front or spending time on the beach without being serenaded by street singers or ‘German’ brass bands, snapped by itinerant photographers, accosted by organ-grinders with monkeys, invited to partake of fruit, sweets, gingerbread, shellfish or ice cream, or urged to offer a copper or two to a puppet or performing animal show. Boatmen, music-hall shows, lodgings and cheap restaurants touted for custom, and it was sometimes physically difficult to find a way through the importunate throng.”

The introduction of the ice cream machine

In the 19th century, ice cream manufacture was simplified with the introduction of the ice cream machine in 1843 in both England and America. This consisted of a wooden bucket that was filled withice and salt and had a handle which rotated. The central metal container, containing the ice cream was surrounded the salt and ice mixture. This churning produced ice cream with an even, smooth texture.
Previously it was made in a pewter pot kept in a bucket of ice and salt and had to be regularly hand stirred and scraped from the side of the pewter pots with a ‘spaddle’ which is a sort of miniature spade on a long handle.
The key factor in the manufacture of ice cream was ice. Where was it to come from? In the early 19th century importation of ice started from Norway, Canada and America, this made ice cream readily available to the general public in the UK. Ice was shipped into London and other major ports and taken in canal barges down the canals, to be stored in ice houses, from where it was sold to ice cream makers.
This burgeoning ice cream industry, run mainly by Italians, started the influx of workers from southern Italy and the Ticino area of Switzerland to England.In London they lived in the most appalling conditions in and around the Holborn area. The huge ice house pits built near Kings Cross by Carlo Gatti in the 1850s, where he stored the ice he shipped to England from Norway, are still there and have recently been opened to the public at The London Canal Museum.
BTNBeachIceCreamVendor

A photograph taken on Brighton’s seafront near the  Free Shelter Hall around 1910 showing a woman holding a child and offering “pure ices” and ice cream from a barrow. On the sides of the barrow are painted the words “Pure Ices” and “Hokey Pokey” ice cream.

Carlo Gatti and the Italian Ice Cream Trade in 19th Century London

Carlo Gatti is credited with being one of the first to offer ice cream for sale in the streets of London. Carlo Gatti employed his fellow countrymen to take his ice cream around London streets in insulated barrows. They offered small sample of the ice cream wrapped in waxed paper by calling out “Ecco un poco“, which roughly means “Try a little“. The Italian phrase “ecco un poco” sounded something like “hokey pokey” to London ears and the ice cream vendors became known as “Hokey Pokey” men. The ice cream itself gained the nickname “Hokey Pokey“. A photograph taken near the Free Shelter Hallon Brighton’s seafront around 1910 shows a woman holding a child and offering ice cream from a barrow.  On the sides of the barrow are painted the words “Pure Ices” and “Hokey Pokey” ice cream.

Before the introduction of edible cones in the late 1880s, ice cream was served from the barrow in a small glass cup called a “penny lick”. The purchaser of the ice cream would lick the ice cream from the glass and return it to the vendor. The glass would be wiped clean with a piece of cloth and then filled with ice cream for the next customer.  Customers who did not want to eat the ice cream standing at the barrow could take the ice cream away after having it wrapped in waxed paper.

Carlo Gatti and Battista Bolla invited their relatives and other Swiss-Italians to join their thriving catering businesses in London. Hundreds of Swiss-Italians emigrated from Ticinoto London in the second half of the nineteenth century. Ticino had a growing population but only a small amount of good farming land.  Unemployment was high and during the series of poor harvests between 1847 and 1854, a large number of Ticinesi left their nativeSwitzerland for other European countries and North America. [The local council in Ticino actually paid a lump sum (equal to six months’ wages) to working men in order to encourage them to leave Ticino].

The prospect of finding paid work in the Swiss-Italian cafes an restaurants that were springing up in London, encouraged a further exodus of emigrants from Ticino in the latter half of the nineteenth century. By the late 1870s and early 1880s, Swiss-Italians who had found work as waiters, barmen, pastry cooks and confectioners in London migrated to expanding seaside towns such as Brighton.

Alberto in France

Albert Sambucci enlisted in the Royal Sussex 11th Battalion for a three year term, or until the end of the war, in September 1914 in Hove, East Sussex. In records, he is listed as both L/Cpl Albert Sambucci  and also as Private Sambucci in TheyservedWiki & the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) with either of these enlistment numbers:  SD/3144 or 3444.  Most sources agree SD3444 in the Royal Sussex Regiment – 11th Battalion.
He died in June 1916 at the age of 23 in the run up to The Battle of Boar’s Head at Richebourg, and The Somme, it is not know how he died. He is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension  (Grave/Memorial Reference N.42)
Burial place of Sambucci

“His letters speak of the cold and lice-ridden blankets. He also mentioned being made a bomber and trench raids. He said on one occasion it took him 2.5 hours to cover 120 yards from no mans land back to his trench. His last letter written just two days before his death said he was in the pink and hopeful of some leave. On the day that he was killed the Battalion diary states that three other ranks were killed when Sap15 was blown in, then an hour later two other ranks were shot by sniper fire, so we do not know the circumstances of his last moments.”

Written account by Alberto’s grand daughter as published on: ‘The Wartime Memories Project – The Great War’

A Bit About Cambrin Churchyard

At one time, the village of Cambrin housed brigade headquarters but until the end of the FirstWorld War, it was only about 800 metres from the front line trenches. The village contains two cemeteries used for Commonwealth burials; the churchyard extension, taken over from French troops in May 1915, and the Military Cemetery “behind the Mayor’s House.” The churchyard extension was used for front line burials until February 1917 when it was closed,but there are three graves of 1918 in the back rows.
The extension is remarkable for the very large numbers of graves grouped by battalion, the most striking being the 79 graves of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 15 of the 1st Cameronians (Row C), the 35 of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers and 115 of the 1st Middlesex (Row H), all dating from 25 September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos.
Cambrin Churchyard Extension contains 1,211 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 8 being unidentified. There are also 98 French, 3 German
and 1 Belgian burials here. The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day: Friday 30th June 2017

We welcome you to a free event day exploring Brighton and Hove during WWI and showcasing two related projects The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme (Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage), and The Boys on The Plaque (Fabrica gallery).
 
We’ve got a great series of speakers throughout the day, and a lunchtime Q & A session, so bring a packed lunch, grab a cup of tea from Temptations cafe in the library, hear some fascinating tales, and watch archive film footage of Brighton and Hove a hundred years ago.
 
There will also be a book launch for The Boys on the Plaque project, and an exhibition based at Jubilee Library for The Orange Lilies project.
 
The event is a drop in event, but welcome to come all day!
 
Free to attend, but please book a place: Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day

B&H in WWI event 30th June 2017

Brighton & Hove in WWI – Free event day

Free WWI Community history event marking the end of both The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme, and The Boys on the Plaque projects; exploring Brighton & Hove in WWI.

& Launch of The Boys on the Plaque book

Venue: Jubilee Library, Brighton, 11am – 4.30pm – 30th June 2017

Speakers

11 – 11.20am: Introductions by Nicola Benge, The Orange LiliesProject Manager & Clare Hankinson, The Boys on the PlaqueProject Manager

11.20am – 12.10pm: Dr Frank Gray – Director of Screen Archive South East shows vintage film clips & discusses Brighton during WWI

12.15 – 1.30pm: Brighton & Hove in WWI Q & A – chaired by Dr Sam Carroll + Speakers: Dr Chris Kempshall, Dr Alison Fell, Dr Geoffrey Mead & Dr Frank Gray

1.35– 2.25pm: Dr Alison Fell – First World War Women workers and strikes

2.35 – 3.25pm: Dr Chris Kempshall – Brighton, The Boar’s Head, and the Somme

3.30 – 4.20pm: Dr Geoffrey Mead – Laundry maids and Fishermen – Aspects of work in WW1 Brighton

4.45pm onwards: Unveiling of new Battle of Boars Head memorial at The Steine War Memorial, Brighton

With:

Battle of Boar’s Head exhibition courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove; The Boys on the Plaque project resources, WWI exhibitions and resources from Brighton & Hove Libraries, Gateways to the First World War, and The Royal British Legion.

Venue – Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE

Queries to: theorangelilies@gmail.com

Websites:

theorangelilies.wordpress.com

boysontheplaque.wordpress.com

The Orange Lilies project is delivered by Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage

The Boys on the Plaque project is delivered by Fabrica gallery

Both in Partnership with the following organisations:

Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service, and Gateways to the First World War

with support from

Heritage Lottery Fund

Performance of a new score + screening of 1916 film ‘The Battle of the Somme’ – Hastings

20161108_110128.jpgHastings Sinfonia is proud to be part of Somme100 FILM, an international project bringing together 100 live orchestral performances of the IWM film The Battle of the Somme to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle.

The original restored 1916 film, by Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, with our live performance of Laura Rossi’s new score, lasts approximately 74 minutes. It is not recommended for children under 12.

We are delighted that our performance will be introduced by two special guest speakers: Dr Toby Haggith from The Imperial War Museums, and the composer Laura Rossi.

For more information about the project go to www.Somme100film.com

Venue and booking: St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings, England

Brighton WWI film showing – 2nd May

5 children and itYou are warmly invited to a special free film screening for primary school groups to explore the subject of WWI and Brighton’s local history.
Tuesday 2 May 2017
 
10am – 12.15pm
Space are limited, booking essential. Please contact clare.hankinson@fabrica.org.uk to make a booking or for any enquiries. 
 
You are very welcome to stay for the film or head off once it starts. We aim to finish the whole event by 12.15pm.
Refreshments and popcorn will be provided free.
Presented as part of The Orange Lilies project
This event takes place at Fabrica art gallery, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG

As part of The Orange Lilies – Brighton & Hove in the Somme project, we’ll be involving children and teachers of local primary school Middle Street Primary School in our explorations of the city during the Somme in 1916.

We’re inviting WWI historian Dr Chris Kempshall to speak to the pupils about this period of history in an engaging and lively way.
We’ll follow this with a film showing of the First World War linked Five Children and It, and make popcorn too!
When Britain entered the First World War it did not fully realise that the conflict would soon touch upon the lives of everyone; even children.
Dr Chris Kempshall will discuss how the people of East Sussex lived under the shadow of the First World War, and how local children became involved in the war effort.
The screening is for 32 x year 5 children and 3-4 teachers.
Thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund for helping with this event, and to Fabrica gallery for organising it on behalf of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage.

Textiles for The Orange Lilies project

2017-03-23 16.54.29We’ve been working with a  talented textiles artist Rosie James recently for The Orange Lilies project. Following on from a series of public access free workshops at Jubilee Library in Brighton, she is now in the process of completing a textile banner which will be displayed during BFest – the Brighton Youth Arts Festival and beyond across libraries in the city between May and July 2017.

We’re really excited about seeing the experiences of Brighton during the Somme brought to life in fabric. It will depict aspects of Brighton and Hove, women on the home front, as well as soldiers in France too.

C7DruJ5WcAAO8DNHere’s her blog post about the experience:

I have just finished a series of workshops which took place at Jubilee Library in Brighton. These were organised by Strike a Light to commemorate Brighton in WW1. The workshops took the form of drop in sessions for young people from the ages of about 15-25.

We had about 4 or 5 people join in at each session, and make some stitched drawings of Brighton buildings, soldiers, nurses, lilies, planes etc.. Plus others who came along to watch! Being in a library meant that we attracted a bit of attention, with the sewing machines and piles of fabrics. 

It was great that so many boys joined in, and were really keen to carry on at home. One of the boys came to 3 of the workshops and even got himself a sewing machine on freecycle so he could carry on at home.

Here are some pictures taken at the workshops, I am currently putting the final piece together and will post pictures of that when complete.

(These photos below taken by Tracey Gue)