Friday, 20 November 2015

Hidden Stories Creative Writing Project

A year or so ago Arts and Crafts Hammersmith - a partnership of the William Morris Society and Emery Walker Trust  - was successful in securing Heritage Lottery funding for a programme of repairs, refurbishments and improvements to Emery Walker’s home at 7 Hammersmith Terrace and William Morris's Kelmscott House. Both houses look onto the Thames just beyond Hammersmith Bridge and are a ¼ mile away from each other.  

The two men were great friends and worked together on The Kelmscott Press. The HLF funding includes initiatives to encourage local community participation in activities designed to deepen knowledge about their lives, work, interests and relationships. 

In early November, I began work on the Hidden Stories Creative Writing Project  in collaboration with Amy Barlow, year 8 and 9 students at Fulham Cross Girls' School and Simon Daykin from Arts and Crafts Hammersmith. Together we're discovering the stories the houses hold, and through learning about the characters who lived and visited there, we're writing stories both true and imagined. 

These include the stories of Dorothy Walker, Emery Walker's daughter, and Elizabeth de Haas, her Dutch companion, who lived at 7 Hammersmith Terrace and preserved the house as it was when Emery Walker lived there.  It's completely due to the work of these two women (who died in 1963 and 1997) that the house has been preserved as the last surviving example of an authentic Arts and Crafts interior in Britain.

Ms Barlow with FCGS students on the Hidden Stories project