2004 saw the 215 anniversary of the birth and 150th of the death of John Martin Haydon Bridge’s ‘most famous son’.
Haydon Parish Council with the then 'The Friends of Haydon Bridge' arranged a series of workshops and events with the community to celebrate and commemorate these occasions. The celebrations took place between 17th February, his death and 19th July, his birth dates. This helped to raise awareness both locally and nationally of the contribution made by John Martin of Haydon Bridge, the most popular artist of his day.
There is a continuing affinity with the legacy left by Martin within the local schools and the members of the community. This culminates in an annual event each June when the Haydon Local Artists hold their Summer Exhibition in the Ratcliffe Road Community Centre. This has been equipped with hanging facilities specially commissioned by the group which could also be used for other such events. The annual exhibition is open to all artists with a connection to the village. This allows the participants to demonstrate their skills and the visitors to have a go or just be amazed at the expertise there is within the community.
Wise Academy 1st School students also produce work annually for this event and this allows them to gain a great kudos from having their paintings mounted and displayed for admiration in a week long public exhibition.
The main hall itself has three large format works in which the style of Martin’s sublime is echoed in ‘The Destruction of Haydon Bridge’ (The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah), a view from the east (Arthur and Aegle in the Happy Valley) and a ‘Plains of Heaven’. The works were produced by students of Haydon Bridge High School under the direction of Anna Coulson, Sheila Harrison and Sarah Riseborough. This school is noted as having one of the strongest art departments of all in the UK.
The centre also has a collection of 19 Martin reproduction prints. Three can also be seen at the nearby Langley Castle Hotel.
A most generous gift to the village of two original and excellent Charles Mottram (Martin's engraver of choice) prints from the John Martin 'Book of Revelations' triptych, his greatest ever paintings, was made to the village by Ms Alison Parry in 2015. These now have pride of place display in the Community Centre Meeting Room.
A winter Arts and Crafts fair is organised for the end of November each year when works are again available for sale. As well as the artists working in paints, other mediums seen are photography, sculpture, floral art, cake icing, card manufacture, forge metal work, picture framing and tapestry.
For further information please contact Helen Brooks on: 07890333868 or email@example.com
Many of the artists also participate in the ‘Network Artists in Northumberland group’. You can see the latest information at this website www.networkartists.org.uk
Several local artists also use the 'The Bridge' Library and Tourist Information in Church Street as exhibition space.
The Community Centre is also a venue for visiting theatre groups, film and musicians. Details of these events and hall hire arrangements can be obtained from Val. Bell firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:- 0780 9609166 or visit: https://northumberlandvillagehalls.org.uk/haydon-bridge-community-centre
Haydon Bridge has strong musical connections. It is a home for the
internationally known English folk dance band ‘Whapweasel’
A further popular Haydon Bridge duo is ‘The Promise’, Bob and Emma whose contemporary repertoire plays to packed houses in the area.
Choral aficionados are catered for by the excellent mixed voices of the ‘Shaftoe Singers’. The choir was first formed under the direction of Alan Armstrong, head of music at the high school, in 1985. The choir meets at the Methodist Chapel on Fridays.
This is Northumberland and there is also a great demand for our traditionally based music.
Northumbrian piper Francis Templar and fiddler Shef Exham are residents. One of the best known performers with the likes of the ‘High Level Ranters’ and accordionist Henry Robson is Dennis Telford. Dennis has written enough Haydon Bridge based song to fill two CD’s and is always another crowd puller performing live. His family have been Haydon Bridge resident for over 350 years. You can contact Dennis via email@example.com
Dance is catered for at Haydon Bridge Sequence Dance Club every Monday Evening Haydonian Community Lounge & Bar 19:30 until 22:00.
The Haydon Bridge High School has a further excellence in Drama and music mainly as a result of the fervour of the late and much lamented teacher Mike Fry. Productions were of De Mille proportions and always popular from Dickens to Musicals. Mike’s tradition is still being followed by the department leader Anna Coulson and students of today.
Haydon Bridge’s most noted visiting poet was Philip Larkin who had a bolthole residence at 1A Ratcliffe Road within the village with his then partner Monica Jones. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Larkin) His residence blue plaque can be seen Here
As well as Larkin, another local poet was inspired by John Martin. Jill Henderson was raised in the village and has written and sung her work here.
Another Martin inspired poet is Dr. Keith Armstrong. Keith has been responsible for raising Martin’s profile over several years. You can catch up with this prolific scholar here http://keithyboyarmstrong.blogspot.com/
Keith is also a founder of the ‘Thomas Spence Society’ in honour of the onetime Haydon Bridge Grammar School master. www.thomas-spence-society.co.uk
Film is locally represented at the General Havelock Inn with a monthly Film and Food night. These great value events feature a film and the associated food is related to the movies subject matter. Check in the Events Diary on this website for forthcoming showings and booking arrangements.
Live music can be found at the Haydonian Community Lounge & Bar, Anchor Hotel, The General Havelock and the Railway Inn. There is an 'open mic night' Anchor Buskers & Poets Night on the first Sunday of the month at the Anchor which also includes spoken word, comedy and more. Kevin Moore is the main man here Tel:01434 684736 Kevin is a musician himself playing with the Tyne Valley Big Band which features renowned trumpeter and music teacher Dave Hignett. Other groups involved with Kevin are te Over the Moon Ceilidh Band and Lounge Lizards Jazz Combo.
Haydon Bridge also has a Festival of live music and beers at the Low Hall Park football ground usually in June. This benefits several local charities and has become a very popular event. Again check the Events Diary for the latest details. See also Here
Haydon Bridge is also the home of the steel band 'The Sunshine Panners' who have gained over the years an excellent reputation for performance at numerous events and Folk Festivals. You can catch up with them Here
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