Communities across Shropshire are marking 100 years since war poet Wilfred Owen fell in battle on 4 November 1918, just days before the ending of World War I, with a programme of heritage and arts activities.
100 days of commemorative events are taking place across Shropshire to explore the legacy of Wilfred Owen and the role that the county played in World War I. This will include exhibitions, art installations, workshops, screenings and concerts. It will also include the unveiling of a statue of Wilfred Owen created by local artist Tim Turner.
Born in 1893 in Oswestry, Owen’s family had moved to Shrewsbury in 1907 and it was in Shrewsbury that his mother received the news of his death as the bells rang out on Armistice Day. Her 25-year-old son did not live to see the end of the war, nor the acclaim that his poetry would go on to achieve.
Now regarded as the most significant poetry to come out of the war years, his hand-written works of pieces such as Anthem for Doomed Youth are held in the vaults of the British Library alongside the greatest writers in the English language, including Chaucer, Shakespeare and Jane Austen.
Wilfred Owen 100 is a partnership collective of a number of projects, one of which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is delivered by Shropshire Council.
Wilfred Owen 100 event highlights
The story of Wilfred Owen can be found across Shropshire, with a special display at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery focusing on highlights within Shrewsbury. A vast installation has been created based around a reproduction of a second edition Ordnance Survey map from 1902 including places such as Wyle Cop School where Owen worked as a pupil-teacher, St Julian’s Church where the family used to worship and Shrewsbury Abbey where the memorial to Wilfred Owen can be found.
Shropshire’s World War I Film Festival, throughout Shropshire – 8 October to 23 November 2018
Combining classics and new titles, Shropshire’s First World War Film Festival takes place at venues across the county, telling the stories of war, the impact of war and the legacy of war. Fresh from international award success The Burying Party, which will be screened at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery (8 November), tells the painful and remarkable story of Wilfred Owen himself. A Shropshire-based production The Long Way Home tells the story of a fictional pals regiment from a country estate in the last few days of the war.
For the full Film Festival programme visit the website
Wilfred Owen statue unveiling, Oswestry – Saturday 20 October
Created in bronze, the life-size sculpture will be unveiled in the centre of Oswestry with Wilfred Owen depicted in military uniform with a notebook and pencil in hand. Words from Owen’s work and letters will adorn the statue represented in the handwriting of local primary school children, who have also composed their own pieces of poetry.
For more details see here
The Pity of War Concert, Shrewsbury – Sunday 4 November
Marking exactly one hundred years since his death, a concert will take place at Theatre Severn in celebration of the life and work of Wilfred Owen. The Bookfest Remembers Choir, made up of children from across Shropshire, will perform works by local composer Caz Besterman with text by Wilfred Owen. This will be followed by a newly commissioned work, Move Him into the Sun, by choral composer Bob Chilcott that will be performed by a Consortium of Shropshire Choirs. There will also be readings of Owen’s moving letters to his mother.
For more details including booking information visit the website
See the full programme at Shropshire Remembers