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Will you answer the bugle's call?

Published December 07, 2017 2.25pm


Families are being urged to march on down and discover a new DLI Collection exhibition exploring the history of military music.

When The Bugle Calls - the second in a series of touring exhibitions from us and The Trustees of the Durham Light Infantry Collection - is now open at Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

With the story of the DLI's band at its heart it tells the tales of how both the British army and individual soldiers used music to rally their regiments, keeping morale alive in the darkest and most dangerous of times.

Cllr Ossie Johnson, our cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues said: "Military music has always been a stirring sound - The marching feet, the glistening brass and the beat and rattle of drums attract people and hold them spellbound.

"This free exhibition takes new and exciting stories out to our communities, building on what we offer at Palace Green, Sevenhills and Durham County Record Office, our education outreach sessions and the work of DLI Volunteers, who selflessly work over 190 hours each and every week on the DLI Collection.

"When The Bugle Calls is a unique and valuable insight into life of the DLI and I'm sure families will enjoy it and learn something new."

The free When The Bugle Calls exhibition is open Monday to Saturday, during library opening hours, at Bishop Auckland Town Hall until March 2018. It will then tour other locations around County Durham, with venues to be confirmed in the New Year.

For more information visit our DLI Collection page.

DLI Collection touring exhibitions

DLI - When the Bugle Calls - Volunteers

Charlotte Barron, Enid Hoseason and Juile Phipps prepare a display of bugles

When The Bugle Calls follows on from Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front, which drew thousands of visitors to Durham University's Palace Green Library in 2016 before touring the wider county.

Curator Gillian Kirkbride, the museums, heritage and collections manager based at the DLI Research and Study Centre in Spennymoor, said: "Music is such an integral part of the DLI and British Army stories and yet it is not something we have had the opportunity to really explore before.

"From its use as a tool for communicating battlefield commands, to ceremonial purposes, music - and bugling in particular - came to shape regimental traditions.

"We've worked very closely with many groups including the DLI Friends, DLI Association, our DLI Collection volunteers, to decide what stories and objects to include in the exhibition, and then with organisations such as the Durham Army Cadet Force Band and the Imperial War Museum on the music and oral histories.

"There are items which have never been on display before and stories which have never been told."

'It is a brilliant idea'

The new exhibition explores more than two centuries of military history, from the earliest regimental musicians, to buglers in the Crimea, the lives of "bands boy" soldiers such as Jimmy Durham, how Abide With Me came to be the DLI's regimental hymn, 20th Century band leaders, and the legacy of that musical heritage today.

John Rolfe, a member of the DLI Friends group and a former regimental bugler, who helped install the exhibition in the Town Hall's library said: "I think this is great.

"I've never heard of an exhibition like it before and I think it is a brilliant idea."

Contact us
DLI Collection enquiries
03000 266 631
Our address is:
  • Sevenhills
  • Greenhills Business Park
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  • Spennymoor
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL16 6JB
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