Printer Friendly

History invades at Hadrian's Wall; Turbulent past relived on a huge scale.

Byline: Neil McKay

ROMAN chariots, equestrian displays and Viking long boats all descended on Corbridge, Northumberland, on Saturday night take an appreciative audience on a journey back in time.

The Living History Pageant featuring a cast of 500 was the culmination of a week of celebrating the turbulent history of Hadrian's Wall.

Earlier, Vikings had invaded Arbeia in South Shields and Segedunum in Wallsend, Border Reivers staged a raid on Birdoswald near Brampton in Cumbria and visitors were transported back to the English Civil War at Carlisle Castle.

A full Roman century (80 soldiers) were stationed on Hadrian's Wall for the first time in over 1600 years.

There was also Roman re-enactments at the English Heritage properties of Chesters Roman Fort, Vindolanda, Senhouse Roman Museum and the Roman

Army Museum. Dramatic re-enactments brought the frontier story to life all along the Wall, with a living cast of hundreds of Romans, Border Reivers, Vikings, and Civil War troopers.

Visitors to the Living History Pageant at Tynedale Rugby Ground in Corbridge bore witness to two battles, a wedding and a funeral in this evening performance of historical re-enactment, drama, music and technical wizardry.

The cast of 500 re-enactors, performers, musicians and choirs provided of the biggest open air performances ever seen along Hadrian's Wall including a Viking funeral with the biggest longboat burning seen in England for over a thousand years.

The events were led by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd.

Last week Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd had asked construction company Carillion to produce a rough estimate of the cost of building a new wall from North Tyneside to Bowness-on-Solway.

The quote produced was based on building a new wall 15 feet high and 10 feet wide from the existing ground level.

Carillon said they believed building a new wall would take nearly four million tonnes of material and the total cost would be in the order of pounds 300m to pounds 400m.

A Carillion spokesperson said: "Obtaining planning permission and getting the necessary finance would be challenging."

THOUSANDS of visitors to a Northumberland Roman fort at the weekend could be forgiven for smelling a rat.

People who turned up at Housesteads fort on Hadrian's Wall were confronted with a laboratory set up by Bio Organism Substrate Industries which claimed to have devised a technique for extracting odour molecules from archaeological finds .

The company, promoting its Hydroma range of historical odours, invited people to experience the whiff of history, including the essence of Roman sandals found at Vindolanda fort, a centurion's helmet, ancient Irish stew extracted from molecules in a Celtic pot, and an ancient Greek grandmother.

Visitors were then asked to agree to having a swab taken from which the company could extract the individual's personal smell.

They were invited to sign a disclaimer allowing their smell to be used in the company's commercial odour database.

If they agreed the visitors were later given a phial of coloured, smelling liquid which they were told was the essence of their unique aroma.

Around 1,000 phials were given out to visitors to take away.

A website informed people the company to date had isolated over 3,000 smell compound molecules needed to re-create the whiff of rubber, warm leatherette, fresh bread, newly-ironed sheets, children (washed and unwashed), cricket balls, dogs (wet), dogs (dry), and steaming pavements.

But it was all a spoof by the Bureau of Silly Ideas theatre group - with some visitors catching on more quickly than others.

The group's Brian Thunder, who played the part of company founder Dr Sydney Rann, said: "We have had a fantastic few days and it has been great fun.

"There are some people who believed it, some who went away with a doubt in their mind and many who cottoned on but played along ." SMELLING A RAT

CAPTION(S):

BATTLE CRY One of a cast of 500 involved in the Pageant. GETTING INTO CHARACTER An invasion is as part of the Living History Pagean
COPYRIGHT 2009 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:659
Previous Article:Reality bites for Magpies; Relegated United begin jobs cull: Reality begins to bite for Magpies.
Next Article:Cut-price United 'still a risky buy' Investors may want pounds 20m off price tag.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |