Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015

Archive photo of Machine Gun Corps camp

Please note that the Belton Remembers exhibitions are closing on 6 March. Come and have a look around and discover more about Belton during the First World War. 100 years ago Belton’s parkland was the location of a Machine Gun Corps training camp preparing 170, 500 men for the front lines of the First World War. Their presence had a significant effect on not only the Belton estate, but also Grantham and the surrounding communities. A contemporary arts project launched in October 2015, inviting visitors to reflect in a different way on the story of the Machine Gun Corps camp at Belton, and the lives of the men and women that served there.

Remembering the Machine Gun Corps at Belton

Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015 is a contemporary art project focusing on the Machine Gun Corps, which was formed at Belton. A large training camp was set up on the park 100 years ago, housing tens of thousands of men at any one time.  The project considers the many ways in which we commemorate and remember our history today.

Created by artists Rebecca Lee and Belén Cerezo, Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015 goes beyond usual audio-visual guides, with pieces allowing visitors to engage more deeply with the soldiers that trained on the same parkland that they find themselves walking on today. You can find out more about the artists by opening the article at the bottom of the page.

" We hope to create a body of dynamic and stimulating art-works that open up a space for thought and experience surpassing the historical accounts. They will allow visitors, and volunteers to re-view and re-listen (to themselves and the Machine Gun Corps) and generate new memories, stories and understandings."
- Artists Rebecca Lee and Belén Cerezo

Creating the pieces

Belen and Rebecca have been hard at work since April, meeting Belton staff, volunteers and visitors as well as members of the local community and specialists with particular knowledge in relevant areas. The Machine Gun Corps’ presence impacted on how Belton, Grantham and the surrounding area developed during and immediately after the First World War. Consequently, its history and commemoration is a subject that many residents have personal connections to.

These connections have been thoroughly explored to make the artworks personal and relevant, as befitting such profound subject material. Archaeologists, re-enactors and even family members of soldiers that served in the corps were interviewed during the information gathering stages.

Explore each part

Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015 is made up of four parts. Pick up an exhibition guide to visit each and find out more:

  • Part 1: A video installation accompanying the 'Belton Remembers' exhibition in the Stables.
  • Part 2: A film piece in the Billiard Room, created using a combination of archival and original material.
  • Part 3: Pick up an audio walk from the Marble Hall. Soundscapes and interviews tell of ordinary and extraordinary lives.
  • Part 4: A limited edition printed work.
This image was found among archive materials
An old photograph of a vintage watch
This image was found among archive materials

Explore the site of the Machine Gun Corps camp accompanied by the experts that made this project happen.

Call 01476 566116 to book tickets and find out more. £5 per ticket.

  • Belton Head Ranger Chris Shaw 12noon, Wednesday 18 November 2015
  • Artists Rebecca Lee and Belén Cerezo 11am, Saturday 5 December 2015
  • Project Curator Kate Stoddart 11am, Wednesday 20 January 2016
  • National Trust Archaeologist Rachael Hall 11am, Saturday 13 February 2016