MIDDLESBROUGH schoolchildren will this week witness first-hand the casting of a replacement commemorative plaque marking those who made the ultimate sacrifice from the town’s Gjers Mills Ayresome Ironworks.
The visit by pupils from Ayresome Primary School to the town’s historic William Lane Foundry to witness the casting of the replacement All Saints’ Church’s First World War memorial plaque forms part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported ‘They answered their Country’s Call’ Project.
The replica plaque, replacing one stolen and damaged almost a decade ago, will be installed and unveiled at a ceremony in the New Year following the award of an £8,500 HLF award.
As well as paying a visit to William Lane Foundry, whose origins date back to the 1860s and featured on the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys earlier this year, the children will also visit the nearby Transporter Bridge and cross the River Tees to capture photographs of the ‘steel river’ which will feature in the project.
Music students will also be performing songs from the First World War in the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre (2.15pm – 2.45pm).
The project has already held a number of activities will explore the impact of the First World War on Middlesbrough, its industries and churches, including a poetry slam event at Archibald Primary School with local poets Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby.
An exhibition will also take place at the Grade II* listed church in 2016 utilising material digitised from the historic collections of Teesside Archives.
All Saints’ Father Glyn Holland said: “We are delighted that after several years since the loss of the war memorial we are now able to remember those ironworkers and managers from the area that worked at Gjers Mills, answered their country’s call and sacrificed their lives during the First World War.”
Project Manager Tosh Warwick added: “The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local partners provides the opportunity for local people to remember those ironworkers and everyday men who sacrificed their lives during the First World War.
“We are grateful to William Lane Foundry for providing the opportunity allowing young people both to witness this historic moment and to learn more about Middlesbrough’s historic industries.”