Silent walk of remembrance at Dunham Massey

Remembering the fallen - a silent walk and poetry readings at Dunham Massey © National Trust

Remembering the fallen - a silent walk and poetry readings at Dunham Massey

Latest update 11.07.2014 11:12

'There were our own / there were the others'

Wednesday 23 July, 2pm.

This summer, twenty-three National Trust places across the country, including Dunham Massey in Cheshire, are inviting visitors to share a silent walk of remembrance to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

‘There were our own / there were the others’ has been conceived by the artist Alec Finlay as a contemporary act of remembrance for all those affected by conflict across the last one hundred years.

On each walk two poems will be read and, where possible, poppy seeds scattered and a book installation left as a memory of the event. Each venue has selected a host who will share local experiences of conflict.

The two poems which will be read on the Dunham Massey walk are ‘The Woman Mending Clothes’ by Chinese poet Ai Quing and ‘The Mosquito killers’ Pastimes’ by Tamil poet Shash Trevett.

The wide-ranging poems reflect 'our own' and 'the others' in many different ways – from service personnel, peace activists, refugees and exiles, to freedom fighters – sharing individual experiences of pathos, grief or redemption.

Finding a way to remember

Alec Finlay says: 'Each generation must find its own way to make an act of remembrance. As wars themselves have altered in catastrophic ways, shifting from fixed front-lines to the city streets, affecting soldiers and innocent civilians alike, so the events that we are marking have altered, and we must discover new ways to recognize this.

'There are no soldiers or nurses alive who served in the First World War; their eye-witness passed with them. That ‘Great War’ which was supposed to end all wars, ushered in a hundred years in which conflict multiplied and suffering deepened. For this project, rather than monuments cast in bronze, we will walk in silence, scatter a few poppy seeds, and read pairs of poems. Poets can offer acts of witness which acknowledge that ‘our own’ and ‘the others’ are categories which have little meaning, except that they may remind us of our common humanity.'

At Dunham Massey, the event will compliment Dunham’s transformation into the Stamford Military Hospital – a role it played from 1917 – 1919 when 282 wounded ‘Tommies’ found refuge within its walls.

The route around Dunham

Jessica Webb from Dunham says: 'Led by poet Ken Cockburn we will be covering a distance of four miles over an hour and a half. We will be walking slowly through the villages of Dunham Town and Dunham Woodhouses to the Rope and Anchor pub. Horses were lined up outside the pub during the First World War for Army officials to select those needed to help in the war. We then continue the walk through Little Bollington, ending back at Dunham Massey. We will be scattering poppy seeds by the Orangery at the end of the walk'.

‘There were our own / there were the others’ is a Trust New Art commission for National Trust, supported by Arts Council England. The Silent Walk at Dunham Massey is free to attend but booking is essential as places are limited. To book a place call 0844 249 1895 or book online.