The War Poets Collection as part of Edinburgh Napier University has been undergoing refurbishment works to mark 100 years since Craiglockhart Hydropathic was used as a hospital to treat shell-shocked officers during World War One. Books and other historical items are put on display within the university's Craiglockhart campus. A new bronze sculpture of Wilfred Owen which has been donated to the War Poets Collection by award-winning artist Anthony Padgett has also been added to the collection.
As part of the relaunch, a light projection, paying tribute to the building's history during the Great War, will illuminate the facade of the campus building from November 2nd until November 4th, 2016.
Oscar-winning actor Sir Daniel who has recited seven of Wilfred Owen's most famous works is among five famous faces who have lent their voices to the poets collection. The works of Owen's friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon have been captured by Nathaniel Parker. Owen and Sassoon met at Craiglockhart in the summer of 1917. Nat played Wilfred Owen in 1989 in Derek Jarman’s War Requiem, a film adaptation of Benjamin Britten’s music piece of the same name.
Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan adds an interpretation to a selection of anonymous poetry from The Hydra; journal of Craiglockhart War Hospital, journalist and broadcaster Allan Little interprets a selection of Robert Graves’ poetry and the award-winning author Dr Pat Barker has recorded a further six poems by officers who were treated there, including The Somme Valley 1917 by Canadian poet Frank Prewett - together they recited works for a special recorded playlist.
The recorded poetry, which can be listened to through two handsets within the space, will conclude with a haunting version of The Lads of Quintinshill 1915 composed and played by musician Thoren Ferguson. Thoren plays the Wilfred Owen violin which is made from a branch of a sycamore tree from the grounds of Craiglockhart campus itself.
Catherine Walker, collection curator, said: "Sir Daniel, Nathaniel, Allan, Ian and Pat have all given their time and expertise to support this project. Their distinctive voices have really brought the poems to life, giving our visitors an opportunity to hear and fully appreciate the poetry. We are extremely grateful to them."