Town and gown join forces to stage tribute For The Fallen…

18 October 2018 12:49
Manuscript of Binyon’s ‘For The Fallen’.
© Credit: Lancashire Archives Lancashire County Council
Manuscript of Binyon’s ‘For The Fallen’.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Most people will have heard the words of Laurence Binyon’s famous ‘For The Fallen’ poem, read out at Remembrance Day parades and services across the globe.

One of Lancaster’s famous sons, Binyon is known by most local people who are probably aware that he was born at 1, High Street in the city centre – and there’s actually a plaque outside his former home to prove it!

But just how much more do we actually know about Laurence Binyon?

Now, a new exhibition, just opened at Lancaster University’s newly modernised Library, sheds some fascinating light on the man who wrote the moving tribute for the fallen of WW1.

The display is just one of three the University is organising with Lancaster City Council to mark the centenary of the end of WW1 and Armistice Day.

The University’s Special Collections team and campus-based Ruskin Library, have worked with the Council to stage three exhibitions - all with the theme ‘For the Fallen’.

The Binyon display, on show now, is staged in the exhibition space at the University Library and features special collections capturing the life and works of the poet, dramatist and artist scholar.

Through his work at the British Museum, Binyon circulated and worked with various poets and artists of the time including Ezra Pound, William Rothenstein, Edmund Dulac, Charles Ricketts, Isaac Rosenberg and Gordon Bottomley.

The free exhibition, accessible during Library opening hours, will run until February 28.

Founder member of the University and former lecturer Dr David Steele worked with the team on the curation of the exhibition.

A joint exhibition at the City Museum, which also opened on September 27, captures the time, through personal stories, when soldiers from the King’s Own Regiment returned to the city. The exhibition will also feature the original manuscript version of Binyon’s famous ‘For The Fallen’ poem.

This will run until March 24.

The third exhibition, in partnership with the City Museum, opens on January 14 at the University’s Ruskin Library and Research Centre.

Director Professor Sandra Kemp said: “Artist and poet, Ruskin and Binyon were kindred spirits. Our exhibition draws a spectacular range of paintings, drawings, and works from private and international collections on the subject of ‘Night Skies and War’.”

The exhibition will explore the theme of night skies in the context of war artists and soldier poets, from John Ruskin (1819–1900) to Laurence Binyon (1869–1943), have grappled with the symbolism of the sky, stars and moon within diverse contexts of human conflict.

Assistant Director of Academic Services at the University Library Phil Cheeseman said: “The collaboration between the City Museum, the Ruskin Library and University Library Special Collections has been a great opportunity to draw on our collective expertise and collections.

“The three exhibitions and associated events taking place over the coming months provide a fascinating insight and tribute to the people of Lancaster, during and in the period following the First World War. I very much look forward to further opportunities for us to work together in the future.”

Five facts you might not know about Binyon.

·        His full name was Robert Laurence Binyon

·        His father was the Vicar of Burton-in-Lonsdale Parish Church

·        At the age of 45, too old to join the armed forces, he signed up as a voluntary nursing orderly in 1915 and worked at a Red Cross hospital at Arc-en-Barrois in France

·        He later became Keeper of Oriental Arts at the British Museum

·        He was very well connected and Arthur Ransome, of Swallows and Amazons fame, was his cousin


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