Evacuee Play Trove (2013)

Funder: Heritage Lottery

In 1939 London’s culture of street play was abruptly interrupted by the prospect of Nazi bombing raids, when around 400,000 children were evacuated to new lives in rural Britain. What impact did this have on the way they played – during the war and once they had returned home? This  project captured the memories of evacuees and brought them to life for a new generation using theatre and film. The play trove archive is here or dig in to the blog posts below.

Dora explorers
The home front is a rich aspect of understanding World War One heritage. This resource is designed to support teaching and learning about the home front across the KS2 curriculum from History to Art, Drama and Literacy, offering opportunities to inspire pupils across subject areas.

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Dora explorers
Children performed theatrical sketches to show audiences what they have learned about World War One and its impact on children's lives at that time. The performances covered everything from the Girl Guides' role in the war and young boys working in factories, to children’s parks being taken over by the military.

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Dora explorers
Today it is cars and digital devices getting in the way of children's play. But in 1914 it was DORA (aka the Defence of the Realm Act), which prevented playful activites including kite flying, whistling and feeding the birds...

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Dora explorers
Children in White City and Bethnal Green have embarked on an exciting exploration together to travel 100 years into the past to experience life during World War One. We have become…. DORA Explorers! (No, not the small Spanish kind... Explorers of World War One and the Defence of the Realm Act, aka DORA.)

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Access to nature
London Play's Access to Nature projects are well underway in four sites across London. Part funded by Natural England under its Access to Nature scheme, which is part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme, the project aims to encourage children and families into the natural environment and to rediscover the joy of being

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Evacuee play trove
19 OCTOBER: Well yesterday was the project finale and what an event it was! Deep beneath the corridors of power in Churchill's wartime nerve centre, the Cabinet War Rooms provided a suitably atmospheric setting for the premiere of the film and celebration event to mark the end of the project.

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Access to nature
September 2012: Play features provided by London Play as part of its Access to Nature project were given a thorough testing during the public event launching the £5m transformation of Haringey's Lordship Recreation Ground. Around 8,000 residents attended a community festival held on Saturday 22 September to mark the park's rebirth - and the refurbished

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Taking nature to the streets
July 2012: Another partnership during the same period was established with the Friends of Fortune Street Park in Islington where we supported the delivering of outdoor play opportunities in their local open space. The aim was utilise the natural elements of the open space, and through the use of low cost, simple everyday objects we

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Evacuee play trove
17 July: It's been confirmed that the end of project event will be on Friday 18 October at the Churchill War Rooms! What a fitting venue - Churchill’s wartime bunker is a fascinating piece of living history; an underground maze of rooms that once buzzed with round-the-clock planning and plotting, strategies and secrets.

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Evacuee play trove
25 June: Children in Tower Hamlets and across London have put aside their computer games and discovered first-hand the simple fun that their grandparents made for themselves, in a ground breaking project which has bridged the generational divide.

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Evacuee play trove
First month and launch of London Play’s Evacuee Play Trove project! Tomorrow I’m meeting with our partners, Museum of London and the Half Moon theatre. I’m very excited about the prospect of interviewing 30 former evacuees. Listening to their fascinating stories bring to life their experiences during the evacuation and their war time play experience.

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Evacuee play trove
The ‘Evacuee Play Trove’ is the online home of an impressive archive of memories, games and pictures gathered and produced during the course of the project.

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Taking nature to the streets
Summer 2012: we started to work together with Mudchute City Farm based in Tower Hamlets to support both volunteering and play on their vast outdoor site. During their large inter-generational community event themed around traditional street play and the 1940’s we delivered a variety of activities using loose objects from our Play in a Box

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Evacuee play trove
10 June: I have just come back from a full on day of filming the evacuees, I learnt so much. There so many people to coordinate in the crew. I’m looking forward to filming at St John’s Primary on Friday. Teresa the teacher said the children can’t wait to be on TV. Well we will

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Evacuee play trove
Children in Tower Hamlets and across London put aside their computer games last week and discovered first-hand the simple fun that their grandparents made for themselves, in a ground breaking project which has bridged the generational divide.

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Access to nature
Spring 2012: A two year project which aims to encourage more children and families to reconnect with the outdoors through play is outgrowing its original brief. The sight of major new nature playgrounds emerging in four parks across north and east London as part of London Play's Access to Nature project has inspired several community

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Taking nature to the streets
Spring 2012: London Play and Haringey Play Association launched the first ‘Mudpies etc.' pop up play shop on Tottenham High Road on Monday 20 August, offering local children and families a welcoming space to drop in, relax, play and let their imaginations loose in a creative environment. The sessions are free and offer all types

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Evacuee play trove
21 March: We are half way through interviewing 30 former evacuees. I feel privileged and humbled to listen to their stories. I’m looking forward to the reaction from children at the schools we are working with, when they hear how happy the evacuees were, playing with so little.

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Access to nature
February 2012: Following on from last summer's community engagement day at Beam Washlands where London Play introduced plans for a natural playscape to the local community, the first equipment has now been installed and is now well established as part of the landscape.

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Access to nature
February 2012: Landscaping work has started on the Broadwater Green site in Thamesmead. Trees for Cities and London Play are working in partnership to create a new play-scape and plant new trees and plants in the park.

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Taking nature to the streets
Winter 2012: Once again the nature garden on the site of the old Tidemill primary school is full of the sounds of children playing, excitedly rediscovering secret paths and hidden dens. In partnership with local community group Assembly SE8 the latest Mud Pies etc. initiative in Lewisham has really gained momentum, becoming an inspirational environment

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Access to nature
JULY 2011: London Play and the Barking and Dagenham community rangers ran a community engagement day in the park on Saturday 9 July, which was a roaring success! Of course, no community event is complete without face painting and a bouncy castle, which both went down very well on the day.

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