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Xmas 14

The archive will be placed in Liverpool’s records Office at the Central Library at the end of January 2015. This will mark the end of the Heritage Lottery funded phase of the archive project. A full evaluation of the project will then be presented. In the meantime I just wanted to summarise and celebrate some of the amazing and significant achievements of the project to date.

In 2014 we launched the public display of the archive at Central Library; released a short film narrated by comedian and broadcaster Alexei Sayle; published a short introduction to Garrett’s life and work featuring two of his original writings; unveiled Shore leave – Garrett In The City, an installation that has been seen by many thousands of people on its travels around Liverpool; published a website featuring many of Garrett’s artefacts; staged rehearsed readings of two of his plays – Two Tides and Flowers and Candles, and held many public talks and discussions, many of which have been led by our ‘Garretteers’, the dedicated group of volunteers who have worked on the project from the beginning. Most importantly, we have catalogued, collated, scanned and digitised the whole archive. This truly is an astonishing amount of work, which has been of a consistently high quality, designed to create a lasting legacy for George’s work and make it publicly accessible for interested people from all walks of life, and for future generations.

As we draw to the end of this phase of our work, all of us on the project share the feeling that we have still only scratched the surface of this iceberg of information we are sitting upon. There is so much material – Garrett’s unpublished autobiography, Ten Years On The Parish, a 60,000 word document that captures better than anything else written the desperate plight of 1930’s Liverpool, is a case in point, that we must and will continue to work with, that there is no doubt the project will continue. Plans are now afoot to launch a series of educational workshops for school students and young people in spring 2015, and putting together proposals for a publishing strategy to try and bring out at least some of the major sections of his work. We have now begun to select artefacts from the collection, and have published the first few in a series of blog articles based on the research of the Garretteers on the items they have selected to write about. This too will continue, and possibly be extended deeper into academia if a proposal submitted for a Phd based on Garrett’s work is successful.

On a recent visit to New York I was able to make contact with the local Wobbly branch (Garrett joined them back in the early 20’s and helped set up a branch in Liverpool), and also The Provincetown Playhouse, of which Garrett’s hero, Eugene O’Neill, was a director back in the early 1920’s when Garrett lived in New York and had links with the Playhouse. 238 East 42nd St., where Garrett lived in New York, has long gone, replaced by the Daily News Building (think Superman), but we’re hopeful something too will come of the links we have made.

Special thanks again go out to the Garrett family for continuing help and support, Tony Wailey, our Garretteers – Rochelle Ellis, Ray Quarless, Sue Smith, Will Reid, Hannah Holmes, Frank Boyce, Sean Garrett, Sheila McGowan and Anne McDermott, To Val Stevenson and the staff at LJMU, particularly Anne Foulkes, David Stoker, Helena Smart and all at Central Library, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Wes and Chris at The Hatch TV, Jon Spruce and Chloe Buckley and the students at LJMU Art and Design, The Heritage Lottery and of course, all the WoW staff

Finally, we were very sad to lose Roy Garrett, the sixth of George’s seven sons, who passed away in November. We remember Roy with great affection and are glad that we were able to share with him the work of the archive project. We are particularly proud of the moment of magic we caught with him and his brother Derek on the short film we made of their father’s life, where they spontaneously break into singing ‘Hallelujah I’m a Bum’, the old Wobbly song taught them from his days in America. This moment, which in a nutshell confirms our argument about George and the influence of syndicalism on his life, really brought out his warmth of character and sense of fun. Roy was very generous with his time and regularly expressed his support for our project.

Happy Xmas and best wishes for 2015 to all our supporters.

Mike Morris, Project Co-Ordinator.
Last modified onSunday, 21 December 2014 10:35
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