The Cathedral is marking the centenary of the end of World War 1 with a special exhibition bringing together two of the most potent symbols of Remembrance – red poppies and puttees, the lower leg wrappings, worn by soldiers in two World Wars.
Binding the Past to the Present Through Remembrance, a Heritage Lottery funded community project run by local artist Suzie Gutteridge with Salisbury Cathedral’s Outreach team, was inspired by the puttees given to the artist by her late father. A textile specialist who likes to create her own materials and work with ‘found’ objects, Suzie came up with the idea of mounting red felt poppies on 100 puttees sourced from a surplus store, and hanging them in the Cathedral’s Morning Chapel as a moving tribute to those who lost their lives on the field of battle. To create the display Suzie has been running community workshops, working with young and old to make the red felt for the flowers, and shaping the poppies themselves. Now she is recruiting helpers to sew those handmade poppies onto the puttees. If you are a confident sewer and would like to help, visit her website for details.
This unique project also has lots of local history sewn into it. The puttees Suzie is using were made by Fox Brothers and Co Ltd, a Somerset based company that supplied puttees to the British Army who are still in business today. Back in the 1914-18 war the company produced 8,000 miles of khaki cloth for clothing and 70,000 pairs of puttees per week for soldiers in the field.
Binding the Past to the Present Through Remembrance will be on display in the Morning Chapel from 25 October until 25 November.
A second exhibition exploring the role played by the Royal Army Chaplains Department (RAChD) in conflict will also be displayed in the North Transept. The exhibition is open from Friday 9 - Sunday 11 November.
Shakespeare’s Henry V is given an update to mark the World War 1 centenary too. Theatre company Antic Disposition’s production, which covers the events during the Hundred Years' War immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt, is played in World War 1 costume. The performance moves effortlessly between 1415 and 1915, combining Shakespeare’s epic history play with original songs inspired by the poetry of A.E. Housman in a powerful tribute to the young soldiers caught up in conflicts five centuries apart.
Performances take place at 19.30 on Monday 5, Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 November in Salisbury Cathedral. Tickets: £30 unreserved, £40 reserved, with £10 off for under-25s. For booking details click here.
Finally, on the eve of the Armistice Day centenary at 19:30 on Saturday 10 November, Benjamin Britten's epic War Requiem will be performed by Salisbury Musical Society and the choristers of Salisbury Cathedral, accompanied by Chelsea Opera Group Orchestra. David Halls, Salisbury Cathedral Director of Music, conducts and performers include:
Alwyn Mellor - soprano
Mark Wilde - tenor
Julien Van Mellaerts - baritone.
Tickets £10 - £35, book via the Cathedral website or Salisbury Playhouse on 01722 320 333. Under 19's free unreserved tickets at the door.
For further details on any of these activities check here.