An Artist’s War

The Art and Letters of Morris & Alice Meredith Williams
Phyllida Shaw

He was an artist, she a sculptor. Together this husband and wife team captured the Great War like no one else has.

Visitors to Edinburgh Castle see the work of Morris and Alice Meredith Williams every day, and do so in their thousands. And yet both have been largely neglected as artists of the First World War.

When war broke out, Morris Meredith Williams was living in Edinburgh with his wife Alice, a sculptor, and earning his living from book illustration and teaching. A short man, his attempt to join the army in 1914 failed, but six months later he was accepted by the 17th Battalion, The Welsh Regiment, first Bantam battalion.

Never without a sketchbook and pencils in his pocket, he produced an extraordinary record of his surroundings. After the war some of the sketches became oil paintings while others inspired war memorials in various media, most notably for the Scottish National War Memorial, on which he and Alice worked together.

In this stunning book, the Meredith Williams’ art is displayed in fine style, ranging from the touching and heartfelt to the most brutal, stark images of the waste and loss of war.

May 2017 £30.00
250x250mm, 272 pages
300 colour illustrations

Phyllida Shaw was left Morris Meredith Williams’ sketchbooks by his second wife, her great aunt. She has worked as a researcher and writer in the cultural sector for thirty years. The book is designed by graphic designer David Grey, who is closely involved with the Northumbria World War I project.

FREE public talks at The Low Lights Tavern, Brewhouse Bank, Fish Quay, North Shields

All talks start at 7.30pm unless noted otherwise

16th May 2017
Peter Coppack - American Flyers at Cramlington.

13th June 2017 6.30 pm at Northumbria University, City Campus East, New Bridge Street.

Opposite Manors Metro Station.
Emeritus Professor John Derry - Departing from Tradition: The United States of America's entry into the Great War, 1917.

20th June 2017 at 2 pm Low Lights Heritage Centre, Clifford's Fort, Fish Quay, North Shields and 7.30 pm Low Lights Tavern.
21st June 2017
at 1 pm Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne Westgate Road, NE1 1SE.
Phyllida Shaw - An Artist's War: The Art and letters of  Morris and Alice Meredith Williams.

For the full list of talks see Events

Project Workroom - Room B9

Linskill Community Centre, Linskill Terrace, NE30 2QY.
The project workroom is staffed from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Visitors are welcome to bring family materials and items of interest or to make enquiries about a relative lost in the war.

American Flyers in Cramlington

The Response

The North East and the Great War : 1914 – 1918


Full of information collated by project volunteers ; written by Ruth Chittenden and Alan Fidler, this 52 page book covers our region's contribution to 'the war to end all wars'. Price £5.00

Lavishly illustrated and full of personal stories of heroism, bravery and tragedy with many photographs of personal artefacts and recollections of the war.


Tyneside Tommy

Three Kings Brewery's bottled version of 'Tyneside Tommy' commemorative ale with limited edition 'dog tag' labels. Have you collected all 18?

Available from Wine Chambers Front Street Tynemouth and Walton Avenue North Shields, Cherry Wines, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, Oddfellows Arms, North Shields, Low Lights Tavern, Fish Quay, North Shields also from Glug... Grainger Market Newcastle and Coppers, Gosforth.

A range of 18 biographical 'dog-tag' labels are available to collect.

paperDelicate as Paper

Phil Caffrey has written and recorded a new song 'Delicate as Paper', and it's available for download now from http://thecaffs.com/album/440121.
Phil says: 'The idea for this song came to me whilst I was waiting for the 6.55am 308 bus on my way to the school. I wrote it about two boys who go to school together, and end up fighting together in the First World War. One of the boys dies in battle. Why I wrote it with me in it, I don't really know; maybe it was a an attempt to try and connect with it in some way. Sometimes we are not in control of how ideas develop.

I feel a real sense of pride as I sang this song very recently at the unveiling of the headstone of my Grandad, Andrew Neil. I wrote this song two years ago, not knowing I would do that. I guess it was meant to be.'

You can purchase the new song here.

Written & recorded by Phil Caffrey: All proceeds will go the Northumbria World War One Commemoration Project

product_thumbnailTyneside and the Battle of Jutland
31st May 1916

The Battle of Jutland (or The Skagerakschalcht to the Germans) was a unique event in naval history and the major engagement at sea during the First World War. DISCOVER MORE

Tyneside and the Battle of Jutland, with a foreword by Hon. N. Jellicoe,the grandson of the Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet, Earl Jellicoe is available to purchase now, priced £6.99. You can purchase the book online here.



The Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project (now Northumbria WW1 Project) was recognised in June, 2016 with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - the MBE for voluntary groups.

Read the full release here.

Interactive Database

The project has been engaged since April 2011 in building the most comprehensive biographical history possible of more than 1850 men of the Borough of Tynemouth known to have been killed or died in military service, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets.

The expanded Northumbria Project is currently adding additional casualties to the database, which it is envisaged will increase to approximately 4500 names when research is completed in 2018.

Animated Casualty Map

As covered by the recent BBC1 documentary - Despatches from Tyneside, watch and listen how the Great War devastated the local community of North Shields. See the relentless impact; street by street, house by house, family by family and learn of those people, all who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Blue Plaques

Placing of individualised memorial markers on Tynemouth Borough residences (where property survives today) of men who were killed. Markers have been placed since June 2014,

More then 240 plaques have now been installed (November 2016).

To donate to the fund for the maintenance of the garden and placing of blue plaques please visit our memorials page.

Memorial Garden

A memorial garden has been developed in an enclosed courtyard at Linskill Community Centre. The restored garden was opened on 3rd August 2014; plaques showing casualty names, street by street were dedicated on the 25th October 2015.

The memorial garden is open to the public daily - Monday to Sunday 9 am to 5 pm.

Northumbria World War One Project

A community heritage project based on the wartime experiences of the North Tyneside communities.

There is currently an enormous public focus on the centenary period of the First World War - 4th August, 2014 until 11th November, 2018 (the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice with Germany). The country is being reminded over these four years, by a series of important anniversary dates of key events, of the sacrifice of the nation, which brought personal loss to almost every family in the land.

The former Borough of Tynemouth marked that loss with a Roll of Honour published in 1923 containing very brief details of some 1,850 local residents known to have lost their lives due to causes associated with the war and their service. The project over the four years 2010 to 2014 researched detailed biographies of those men, with the aim of reminding the population today of that loss and also to explore the social and economic consequences for the town and its inhabitants. A current database of more than 1850 personal biographies can now be viewed.

In January 2015 the Tynemouth project was expanded to encompass all of the communities of the current Borough 

of North Tyneside.

An application for grant funding submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the project in researching a wider area now to be included in the project's acclaimed database was successful and groups have been established to research the casualties of Whitley Bay, Wallsend, Forest Hall, Benton and the mining communities of Killingworth, Dudley, Burradon, Backworth, Shiremoor and others.