Monday, March 5, 2012

God Speed the Plough!

Writer, broadcaster and performer Ian Clayton led a creative writing workshop at Drury Lane Library on 29th February. 
Ian Clayton leading the Creative Writing Workshop 
One of the participants, Wakefield resident Vivienne Longley said
"The main emphasis of the workshop was on stimulating writing.  To that end, we looked at some of the artefacts in the library that had been placed there from the museum.  I was touched by the pottery mug which had ‘God Speed the Plough’ written waveringly on its side.’’ 
An agricultural mug made in Leeds inscribed ‘John Scofield Wakefield Woodside 1804 / God Speed the Plough’ and decorated with sheaves of corn and harvest tools. Currently on display in Drury Lane Library

Reverse of mug

  ‘God Speed the Plough’ by Vivienne Longley

It was meant to be a celebration of a working life.  I had spent all my days with the Clydesdales cutting lines in the chocolate earth and then setting the seeds.  It changed in my lifetime.  I used to have a soft hemp bag and followed the plough pulling through the lines.  Praying for rain – but not too much; praying for sun – but not too little; praying for frost – but at the right time.  Then watching the skies for the right weather to start the harvest.  Then clearing the chaff for the winter comfort of the cattle.  And the wheel of the years turned round again and again

As I watched the ice sculpture melt in the field, my lord said in his sing song voice that he had had it made especially and kept firm in the ice house.  The night was bright and sharp so it took its time dying.  So did I.  Each drop was heavy on the ground and froze again in the puddle surface at its feet.  The face lost definition and the nose and the chin softened. The shaped form of the hat rounded off and then the whole head began to melt.

 I sat the night through, turning the mug over and over in my hand.  By the morning both he and I were diminished, but still present, honed and glossy in the rising sun.

There are some more exciting opportunities to be inspired by the museum objects in Drury Lane Library.

On Saturday 10 MarchIrene Lofthouse will be running a session of stories and crafts for families with children aged 5 and over.

All aboard the ark!
Creative writing and craft for families with children aged five and over

Saturday 10 March at Drury Lane Library
10am – 12 noon

Booking essential as places are limited
Telephone: 01924 305376

On Saturday 24 MarchMichael Yates (author of 'The Bronte Boy') will be running a creative writing session.  

(author of 'The Bronte Boy')
Blue Remembered Chills: unpack those childhood memories

Saturday 24 March at Drury Lane Library
10am – 12 noon

Booking essential as places are limited
Telephone: 01924 305376

He says: "Our most important material is our childhood memories. My new play Sunday Afternoon Again, about to be performed in the Liverpool Drama Festival in April, is based on my own fifties childhood. But it raises the question: How far can you go with your depiction of real people from your own life?

The session will give an insight into how Michael Yates researched his play.  

The 1949 television currently on display in the library will act as a stimulus for participants to write poems or anecdotes from their own childhood.

1949 TV on display at Drury Lane Library


  1. Really good that you have so much stuff going on. I can't wait to see the new museum though!


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