SPIRIT OF BIRKENHEAD INSTITUTE

Birkenhead Institute Grammar School, Wirral

DEAN JOHNSON, FORMER B.I. PUPIL

Former B.I. pupil and Wirral Musician Dean Johnson has opened his permanent Gallery to Wilfred Owen on 18th March, 2011 at 34, Argyle Street, Birkenhead:-

 

VARIOUS PICTURES RELATING TO DEAN'S TRIBUTE

Here are some pictures and information about Dean Johnson's "Bullets and Daffodils" musical tribute, as well as the new Wilfred Owen Gallery in Birkenhead:-

THE NEW WILFRED OWEN GALLERY

Dean Johnson opened his new Wilfred Owen Gallery on 18th March, 2011 with a huge success. Many famous people attended the event, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Birkenhead, poetess Bev Clarke, and John Gorman. Many congratulations to Dean on his achievement!  Pictures from the event can be seen below:-

BIRKENHEAD INSTITUTE MODEL: JANET HOLMES

The Gothic splendour of the iconic Birkenhead Institute will soon live again thanks to ceramicist Janet Holmes. Janet is recreating in clay a model of the school that famously counted Wilfred Owen among its pupils. The building was demolished in the 1980s

Janet is using drawings by former art teacher David Jones to recreate in every detail one of the most splendid buildings ever to grace Birkenhead.  

Janet is seeking sponsors for this marvellous undertaking you can contact her via www.ceramicrock.co.uk.

The photo below shows Janet's work so far. 

 

BIRKENHEAD INSTITUTE MODEL COMPLETED

Re-creating Birkenhead Institute, Janet Holmes:
When researching and curating for The Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery I realized what a special and important school for so many people the Birkenhead Institute is. Many holding a great sense of belonging to the school and their fellow teachers, students and colleagues.  


I wanted to bring the images of the school that David Jones had so lovingly created. His drawings where a great inspiration to me and I was very humble at the idea of trying to re-create the school.

While working on the model I tried as much as possible to show the wonderful pride the building seems to exude. Having met a few of the Old Boys, I know that this pride is imparted in them. I am sure that Wilfred Owen also felt this.

As an artist I felt the full weight of history and comradeship that is so part of the Birkenhead Institute and I have strived to reflect and honour that in the model. I have not taken this task on lightly being very aware that I am re-creating a way of life. 

I do feel very proud of the finished piece and I do hope it is received with as much pleasure as I had in creating it.(Janet Holmes)

 



DAVE JONES PORTRAIT & WILFRED OWEN

 

Tuesday 14th June 2011 to Saturday 16th July 2011

Tuesday – Friday 11.00am – 2.00pm

 

For Saturday opening please phone 07539371925 or visit www.wilfredowenstory.com

 

WILFRED OWEN AND THE SPIRIT OF BIRKENHEAD INSTITUTE

 

The imposing facade of the Birkenhead Institute was one of the most iconic to rise in the town during the Edwardian period. The embryonic talents of the young Wilfred Owen were nurtured there. Through its dark panelled corridors patrolled the stern form masters and eager prefects. Renowned for its sports, science and arts, it shaped the character of its pupils into outstanding ambassadors of a bygone age.

The original school was demolished in the 1980s but its proud edifice was preserved by one of its most timehonoured veterans. Art master David S W Jones created dozens of meticulous line drawings of his beloved Birkenhead Institute and these capture the true sense of time and place of the school’s fabled past.

At the Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery the public can view the most complete exhibition of these remarkable works that also depict other familiar Wirral landmarks.

At the Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery the public can view the most complete exhibition of these remarkable works that also depict other familiar Wirral landmarks. To coincide with this historic portfolio will be the unveiling of a specially commissioned ceramic replica of the Birkenhead Institute, created by Wirral ceramicist and Cheshire Woman Of The Year nominee Janet Holmes.

Taking her inspiration from David Jones' original sketches she has magically recaptured the spirit of the Birkenhead Institute; the cradle of Wilfred Owen’s genius.

 

For more details see www.wilfredowenstory.com  

For further information please contact

Dean Johnson

 

BULLETS AND DAFFODILS: CAST MEMBERS AND POSTER

WILFRED OWEN STORY: Alec Paton

Please see below details of the story of Alec Paton, friend of Wilfred Owen, and Dean Johnson's exhibition, announced in February, 2012. A picture of Alec is shown below:-

The Wilfred Owen Story relaunches this month with a truly unique and historic exhibition

 

Wilfred Owen's Forgotten Friend tells the story of Alec Paton. - Owen was said to have only one close friend during his time in Birkenhead.

 

As pupils of The Birkenhead Institute, the boys’ studious nature drew them together and they shared most of the top accolades in their class. Inseparable during holidays, they rode horses on New Brighton Beach and swam at The Argyle Street Baths.

 

Wilfred spent so much time at the Paton household, it was even suggested that he remain with the family when his own parents returned to Shropshire.

 

When as young men they both became soldiers, fate saw Paton live through it, whilst his best friend perished in the last week of the war and became the greatest war poet of all time. Alec, who bore a striking resemblance to poet Siegfried Sassoon, became a teacher on the South Coast. He was said to be reluctant to discuss his boyhood companion, but upon his death at the age of 97, he was buried with an anthology of Wilfred's poems.

 

The exhibition features the world’s first ever pictures of Alec Paton to be seen since Owen's posthumous worldwide fame. His own testimony and that of those who knew him tell the quiet tale of a gentleman who lived his life in the reflective glow of his genius school pal.

CHRIST CHURCH, OXTON, WIRRAL

Please see below a special celebration of Wilfred Owen at Christ Church, Oxton, Wirral, on Saturday, 14th July, 2012:-

DID YOU MEET THE BEATLES?

Did you meet The Beatles? Please contact Jennifer Smedley on:

      07935 123145 if you have any stories to tell:-

 

 

 

DEAN SULLIVAN: BULLETS AND DAFFODILS

AUGUST, 2011

  

From Brookside to the frontline - Dean Sullivan brings war poet's story to the stage.
 

Actor Dean Sullivan famous for creating the legendary 'Jimmy Corkhill' character in the soap opera Brookside brings his latest production to Port Sunlight in September.

One of Merseyside’s most respected and recognised personalities Dean is to direct and narrate the Wilfred Owen musical 'Bullets and Daffodils' at The Lyceum, Port Sunlight. Created by Dean’s name sake songwriter Dean Johnson, who performs the score to the musical, it tells the story of the life of the great WW1 poet in Birkenhead and sets Owen's iconic poems to music. Says Dean Sullivan, “I am offered projects all the time but when I came across this I had to get involved. Wilfred Owen is such an important poet and has strong local connections. With the run up to the anniversary of the beginning of WW1 in 2014 the timing of this musical drama is perfect. It’s defiantly a long way from being Jimmy on the close.”
 

Two performances of Bullets and Daffodils take place at 2.00pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 24th September.   Tickets are available from The Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 6AE. 07539371925 and at Port Sunlight Museum and Garden Village, Kings George’s Drive, Port Sunlight, Wirral CH62 5DX. 0151644 6466

 

For more details, please see:-   www.wilfredowenstory.com  

SEPTEMBER, 2011:-

WANTED:-

 

Volunteer Assistant Manager for

The Wilfred Owen Story And Gallery

34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead

 

Must have a keen interest in poetry and local history.

Enthusiasm is a must. Creative input very welcome.

 

We are the UK's first permanent exhibition to commemorate the Great War poet who lived in Birkenhead.

 

Within a few months we have established ourselves as one of the Wirral’s premier cultural centres.

 

If you would like to be part of this exciting organisation, please contact the founder Dean Johnson on 07539 371925.

 

www.wilfredowenstory.com

 

REMEMBRANCE WEEK, 2011

Owen’s iconic Requiem Mass to be played for the fallen heroes of Ingleborough Road during Remembrance Week.   

The original War Requiem Mass written by Benjamin Britten based on the poems of Wilfred Owen will receive a commemorative playing and appreciation in honour of the 88 fallen WW1 heroes that are remembered at the threatened Ingleborough Road Memorial Playing Fields in Prenton 

The event will be held at the Wilfred Owen Story, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead during Remembrance Week and will feature contributions from a performer who took part in the première of this world famous tribute to Wilfred Owen in Coventry Cathedral in 1962.  

Organiser Dean Johnson says “The original vinyl recording of this classic music is very rare today. It was one of the first pieces ever to pay tribute to Wilfred Owen and the fallen of WW1. We wanted to do something special for the museums first remembrance week and it is fitting to dedicate the day to the memorial field that honours Wilfred and 87 other soldiers remembered there. The War Memorial field is still under threat from development plans from TRFC so this is a way to pay respect to those men rather than decimate an irreplaceable part of the town’s social history.” 

The afternoon begins at 3pm on Thursday 10th November. Admission free.

CHLOE TORPEY FROM WEST KIRBY

PRESS RELEASE

November 2011


WAR POET'S STORY TOLD THROUGH THE EYES OF YOUNG ACTRESS

 

 

Most of the things we know about the war poet Wilfred Owen are from his letters sent to his mother during WW1. Susan Owen published the hundred's of letters after Owens death at the age of 25 during the last week of the war.

 

Actress Chloe Torpey (23) from West Kirby has received great acclaim this year as her portrayal of Susan in the Wilfred Owen Musical 'Bullets and Daffodils'. It is Chloe’s first stage role since leaving drama class from where she went straight into TV and film work.

 

The musical's writer Dean Johnson says 'Chloe has been constantly brilliant in the production and to me she is Susan Owen, she has a timeless quality and is destined for great things. We are lucky to have her in the cast.

 

Chloe can be seen next in an improvised workshop version of Bullets and Daffodils at The Wilfred Owen Story, 43 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral. CH41 6AE on Thursday 8th December at 3pm. Tickets cost £3.00 from the Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery. www.wilfredowenstory.com  0753 937 1925.

 

For further press information please contact

Dean Johnson

Wilfred Owen Story and Gallery

34 Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 6AE

0753 937 1925