Between the Lines
Our second very successful promande play, which took place between 11th and 21st October this year, was also our second very successful collaboration with Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society. The first play; ‘The Visit’ performed last year, focused on the medieval era of Master Edward Cowper. ‘Between the Lines’ in contrast brought us face to face with the realities of the home front in 1916 during World War I.
Master Arthur Bannister joined the community in Ledbury with his wife Alice, in 1909. They lived mainly in Cathedral Close, Hereford but for a few months of each year came to live in the Master’s House. Ledbury’s community regularly held fund raising events for the war effort during this time often in the Master’s House. The play covered one such event and highlighted the deprivations, hardships and anguish suffered by the local population in Ledbury and indeed in rural market towns throughout the Country. A fact that is little mentioned and often forgotton in the histories of World War I.
In juxtaposition to this theme and incorporated into it was an excellent film produced by the young people from the Barratt Browning Youth Group in Ledbury showing life at the Front during the war. Working with Joined Up Heritage Ledbury they engaged in heritage in an unconventional way by exploring the ‘Between the Lines’ characters and script and developing their film skills. (See below for more information about Joined Up Heritage Ledbury, a Heritage Lottery funded project.)
Joined Up Heritage Ledbury
Ledbury is a unique and very special town. Its rich heritage and diverse high street is celebrated widely, attracting visitors from all over the world. The Market House, Barrett Browning Memorial Institute, The Master’s House, St Katherine’s Chapel, the Alms Houses, the Painted Room, the Butchers Row House, St Michaels Parish Church and the Heritage Centre all lie at the heart of this beautiful market town. Joined Up Heritage is a project that has been designed to bring together the volunteers who support this unique collection of buildings. Over two years the project will share skills and expertise while engaging the community and visitors in special events that explore and celebrate Ledbury’s heritage.
The Master’s House on Channel 4’s ‘Great British Buildings’
In April this year The Master’s House was included in Channel 4’s programme ‘Great British Buildings’. The Master’s House with its wonderful restoration was one of the buildings in the third episode of the series which concentrated on 13th to 16th century restorations and was shown alongside Hampton Court Palace and The Royal Hospital Chelsea. It had been sifted from the longlist of the UK’s outstanding restorations of historic buildings for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Restoration of the Year award. Channel 4’s programme is still available to view on the Catch Up site.
Since the completion of its restoration in March 2015 the Master’s House has become a real centre for cultural, heritage and community activities with a wide programme of events taking place throughout the year. With over 100,000 users and visitors in each of the first two years, the Master’s House offers a modern, accessible library in a beautiful heritage building.
All this has been made possible by the £1,174,200 received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the £3,000,000 that Herefordshire Council invested in the restoration and the support of volunteers from the Friends and the Ledbury Library Development Group as well as the wider community.