Up The Line – An Evening Remembrance Performance

A Brockley Central Guest Blog by John McKiernan

Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery, SE4 for Armistice

11.11.09 from 7.30 until 8.41 (1 hour 11 minutes)

There is perhaps no event in history that has taught us more about the horror of warfare than the Great War. To avoid repeating the mistakes that led so many people to their deaths, we must remember its lessons.

With the passing of the last witnesses to WWI, it’s important that we find ways to pass on those memories between the generations.

Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery is a beautiful, almost unaltered space, with two very poignant memorials to those who died from their wounds on their return to the UK during WWI. Local men in the main, from early teens to their forties. Many local people know little or nothing of the memorials or those who are engraved on the walls, including those who perished in Deptford during the first London Blitz of WWI from the Zeppelin attacks.

On Armistice Day, November 11th at 7.30 an event is to be held to recognise the sacrifice of these young men and others and the work of those who have tried to keep their memory alive. The intention is to create a simple experience that is sober rather than somber, yet powerful enough to lodge deep in the mind of those who attend. It is not intended as a history lesson but a reflection on history that will be accessible for all ages.

The event will be a lantern-lit walk through the cemetery during darkness and regardless of the weather conditions. The route will be between Brockley Road and the Ladywell gates. Classical musicians and poets will perform recitals of appropriate pieces and writings of the time, while contemporary dance will capture the essence of passing and a silent film and soundscape expressing the 'ordinariness' of how the War became during this period.

The intention is to lodge an experience in the mind that will create questions and leave those present with a lasting memory. I hope that as many families and younger people as possible will come because it’s important that the next generation understands the experiences of the last century. Please come with your friends, family and neighbours, young and old.

I hope that in the days, months and years that follow the audience will occasionally remember beautiful evening they were part of and think again of World War I, the loss it caused and lessons it taught us.

A slow walk will take approximately 25 minutes maximum you can arrive anytime up to 8.25pm. The Rivoli ballroom have kindly offered to open for people to gather to discuss and chat regarding their experience of the evening.

The event is a huge collective effort by the people of Brockley and Ladywell and it would not be possible without the energy and talent of many groups and individuals, including the
Friends of Brockley Ladywell Cemeteries (FoBLC.org), RBL club in Crofton Park, Lewisham Police who will be organising a guard at each entrance, Max Media Arts (Brockley Max), Mr Lawrence's, Rivoli, Oscars of Ladywell, South London Press, Lewisham Council officers, councilors and the mayor, as well as a huge array of talented artists from across London who will be performing in silhouette on the night.

Full details will be on the www.brockleymax.co.uk website and the event is bought to you by Moonbow Jakes events. This is a borough wide event to honour all those who died from and in Lewisham and remembering those from overseas who are also laid to rest on our behalf.