Solo performance to celebrate heroic women of WWI - The Rugby Observer

Solo performance to celebrate heroic women of WWI

Rugby Editorial 12th Oct, 2018   0

SINGER-songwriter Louise Jordan will celebrate the inspirational stories of heroic women who played a part in the First World War effort at a one-woman performance at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum this weekend.

No Petticoats Here combines songs, anecdotes and photographs to tell stories of extraordinary women who lived through the Great War, including a physicist who invented a fan to clear poisonous gas from the trenches, and keen motorcyclists who signed up to serve with Dr Munro’s Flying Ambulance Corps.

Louise said: “The First World War too often remembers women as the mourners of the fallen, as frugal housewives ‘making do’ or angelic nurses caring patiently for the men who returned from the front line.

“Through No Petticoats Here I remember some of the many women whose stories do not fit conveniently into boxes and whose experiences are both astonishing and relatable one hundred years on.”

The inspiration for No Petticoats Here came from Louise’s discovery of the story of Dorothy Lawrence, whose determination to become an investigative journalist led her to risk her life on the frontline in France.

Cycling through France to the Somme, Dorothy donned a soldier’s uniform and managed to enter the trenches just 400 yards from the enemy before illness eventually forced her to turn herself in.

Dorothy’s story led Louise to carry out extensive research on a host of heroic women, work which took her to the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme, and trips to dozens of museums and libraries.

Songs inspired by her research include Queen Of Spies, about French woman Louise de Bettignies, who turned British agent after the Germans took control of her home town of Lille, and Endless Days, which tells the tale of motorcycle fanatics Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who joined Dr Munro’s Flying Ambulance Corps and ran a first aid post in the bombed out Belgian village of Pervyse.

Louise, who secured funding from Arts Council England to develop the project, performs No Petticoats Here at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on Sunday October 14. The performance starts at 6pm and tickets, priced £5, can be bought online at or at Rugby Visitor Centre.

Rugby Borough Council spokesman Coun Sebastian Lowe said: “Rugby Art Gallery and Museum staged an exhibition in 2016 exploring the life of Lady Dorothie Feilding, the daughter of the Earl of Denbigh who left the family home near Rugby to work as an ambulance driver near the frontline in Flanders.

“Lady Dorothie was one of many women who bravely supported the war effort, and No Petticoats Here celebrates stories of heroism which remain an inspiration to this day.”

Visit for more information about events and exhibitions at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

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