Year 9 students from Oulder Hill Community School have creatively responded to some of the themes highlighted in the exhibition.
Through a dialogue with Mrs Greenwood, who is 101 and lived in Rochdale during the Second World War, students considered their own experiences of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the parallels with Mrs Greenwood’s experiences during the conflict. The students have created a painting and written labels and filmed interviews, adding a contemporary dimension to the show.
Acrylic painting with screen-printed details, 2021
Oulder Hill Community School and Language College
Students have taken inspiration from An Aerial Battle by Francis Dodd and Untitled by Eileen Agar to produce this artwork. They looked at the markings and camouflage of the Spitfire fighter plane re-creating these as a background to a dogfight between two planes (a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt) during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
In preparation for the piece, students produced sketches of the planes, basic image transfer experiments and explored different camouflage patterns. Individually, they made some simple practice prints using a silk-screen printing technique before working as a team to create this painting.
The students have also filmed interviews inspired by the following objects and stories featured in the exhibition:
Mrs Greenwood (front row, first from right) with colleagues from her office, 1943
During the war Mrs Greenwood worked as a secretary for Turner & Newall, a large Rochdale firm with several subsidiary companies that were important to the war effort. She also volunteered for the Rochdale Fire Service.
Interview discussing Mrs Greenwood’s experiences of life in Rochdale during the Second World War
By Nisha Akhtar and Maddison Hernon
Yvonne, an evacuee, date unknown
Yvonne, a toddler evacuated from London, was looked after in Sudden by the Leah family. Mother and daughter exemplify the courage shown by many women in wartime: they worked, volunteered and offered a home to an evacuee. Despite hardship, they also donated money to the Spitfire Fighter Fund.
Interview discussing the photograph of Yvonne, the baby evacuee
By James Moore and Lucas Edwards, Oulder Hill Community School and Language College
Mouth shield, date unknown
A device used to calm nerves during air raids.
Interview discussing the Mouth Shield, used to calm nerves during air raids
By James Moore and Josh Hughes, Oulder Hill Community School and Language College
We would like to thank Mrs Greenwood, Verity Smith (project co-curator) and Oulder Hill Community School.