Friday, 22 October 2010

Reviving Robin

It a year since Iron Awe assembled a choir in the Station Hotel Boosbeck, and sang songs from Sir Michael Tippetts first opera Robin Hood. We are still trying to get funding to complete the project.  BBC Radio 3 are repeating Reviving Robin on Saturday, October 30th at 12.15pm
This photograph was taken at Boosbeck in the1920s, it is said to be of a soup kitchen?
The photograph was kindly contributed by Margaret O'Shea. Her grandmother Sarah Robinson (nee Armstrong) is third from the left in the front row in the dark dress with the white collar. Margaret thinks her Grandfather George Robinson, who was a mines deputy, could be also in the photo but unfortunately she doesn't know which one he is - can anyone help?

Friday, 23 July 2010

Boosbeck and Lingdale

Boosbeck and Lindale are two old ironstone mining villages a mile apart, they were both involved with the land schemes of the1930s. (Heartbreak Hill) Two days ago some of the Iron Awe team took some of the film props from Demonstration day to Boosbeck and supported the opening of a new playground on the old pit yard. Three years ago we did the same thing when they unveiled a sign in the village.
Last year we went to Lindale when they opened a new playground with an ironstone mining theme. That's the way to keep children interested in their heritage.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Looking Back

I have been involved with dozens of storytelling projects, and once we start collecting stories its surprising how small the world seems. I have been looking at songs with the title Heartbreak Hill; Fats Domino, The Strawbs and Emmylou Harris have all recorded different tracks, the one below was co-written and is sung by Daisy Hicks an Australian who was born in England.
Mick Benson, a key member of the Iron Awe team, is director of the Ryedale Folk Museum and lives in East Cleveland, I regularly go with him to the museum and do volunteer work. The twenty mile journey includes going over Blakey Ridge a twelve mile stretch where the only building we pass is The Lion Inn.
In the early 1970s a three piece jazz band called Back Door started playing regular sessions at The Lion Inn, they quickly became popular and played at Ronnie Scott's Club in London, Colin Hodgkinson, the bass player, was a southerner, but Ron Aspery, the saxophonist, and Tony Hicks, the drummer, were both from Middlesbrough. The band split up in the late 1970,s and Tony Hicks took his family, including young Daisy, to Australia. Tony sadly died there in 2006.
When Back Door travelled from Middlesbrough to Blakey they would pass our Heartbeak Hill, they would also drive over holes in the earth where Cleveland miners had taken away the ironstone that became the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so although the links are tenuous, they are there - anyway its a nice song.

I am an unpaid storyteller, occasionally I get expenses for my work, but mostly I don’t. I want the world to know about the history of my part of the world and I always give credit to people for the work I use. This video was put on You Tube with buttons allowing it to be shared and before it was removed I was sharing it. John Lawson 03-08-2011

This is Back Door playing at The Lion Inn Blakey in 2003 - turning the clock back thirty years.

Middlesbrough born Chris Rea is closely related to Tony and Daisy Hicks.
This is Chris singing Steel River, a song about the river Tees.
(There would be no Steel River without the Cleveland ironstone miners.)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Heartbreak Hill

Tippett's Robin Hood is just one part of the Heartbreak Hill story, a fantastic story that deserves more recognition. Iron Awe will involve about 200 local people in the Heartbreak Hill/Robin Hood projects, many of these will be young people who will be trained in film making, scriptwriting, acting and music, for that we will need funding. The Iron Awe team are confident that the film Heartbreak Hill will be made, and a new version of Tippett's opera Robin Hood will be performed. Photographs from some of Iron Awe's projects in 2003.

I can only find one small piece of music from Iron Awes projects with children in 2003, the main music is played by university students who worked with us in 2003 on the award winning film The Accident.
(See Post "The Accident")