Skip to main content

World war heritage celebrated by school pupils.

The content in this article may now be out of date. Please try searching for a more recent version.

A Willenhall high school has teamed up with Bromford, a leading affordable housing provider, to unveil a new monument celebrating the world war history of the East Park estate.

The 'Tarran Memory Arch' was developed by students to celebrate memories of life on the Tarran Estate - built as temporary pre-fab housing after the Second World War. Working closely with artist Steve Field and with funding and support from Bromford, BTEC Art pupils from Deansfield High School have produced the sculpture, which aims to capture "60 years of memories" from across the estate. 

The £15 million Bromford development has seen 111 two and three bedroom bungalows constructed in a bid to regenerate the area, and the unveiling of this new artwork sets to mark the end of the redevelopment journey, which began in 2005. The arch is decorated with quotes from local residents capturing life in the 1950's, and includes lots of artwork produced by students, cast in metal.

The memory arch will be officially unveiled by local MP Pat McFadden on Friday 14 December, with a special celebration including carol singing and refreshments. Bromford executive director Philippa Jones, artist Steve Field and Deansfield pupils will also be presenting to visitors on the community project. 

Karen Dean, Bromford neighborhood manager, said that the project was set up after community meetings discovered issues between older residents and younger members of the community. She added, "The Tarran Arch project was set up bring together not just East Park residents, but the wider community.

"We know that our approach helps to break down the barriers between the differing generations and aid in rebuilding the community spirit and pride that was so strong in the past. By regenerating the community as well as the homes, we know that East Park will once again become a fantastic community where people will want to live and stay for generations to come."

The arch was part of a series of creative pieces produced by Deansfield pupils, with the support of older residents and Bromford. The school have also worked with writer Dymphna Callery to capture local residents' memories of the Second World War in a memory book. Students spent hours 'on the street' talking to elderly residents and even hosted an afternoon tea party to hear their stories, with the book given to all residents, the wider community, and used by the council and other local organisations.

Deansfield High School head teacher Dean Coombes believes the project has been a great opportunity to work closely with the local community, housing group Bromford, and the local council. 

He said; 'As a school we really value giving our students opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom; this project was singled out in our most recent Ofsted Inspection when we were given an 'Outstanding' judgment for Partnership working. It has helped us with creative teaching in Art, English and History.

"The Memory Arch is the culmination of a long term programme which has given several years of students some really worthwhile experience and it is great to think that the results of this will be enjoyed by local families for years to come."

Pupil Ebony Carpeter, a 6th form art student at Deansfield has worked on the project over a number of years. She said; "It's great to be able to work on a piece of art work a community will get to appreciate, something that isn't just for school but will be displayed in public for a long time. The whole Tarran estate partnership has allowed us to meet the community and have a genuine impact on our neighbours." 

Local resident John Powis, who lives on Selbourne Crescent, believes the community has finally started to rebuild itself. He said; "We have had problems in the past with the kids being a bit naughty, knocking on our doors and such, but thanks to Bromford this whole project has really started to help rebuild the community. It was great to see the pupils decorating the first bungalows and meeting residents."

"Since the memory book, we've had absolutely no troubles with the kids, all the problems have gone and it's really great we've been able to help them understand the community. The product of all this work, the monument itself, is a great way to remember the regeneration."

Html.RenderAction("RenderCount", "DisqusSurface");