The trouble with collecting stories about amazing women, is that you keep getting distracted. Sometimes a story just won’t leave you alone, just like the Ghost in Patchwork Lives, who keeps getting stuck in the tales she’s telling.
This is my problem, and at the moment its the story of the Chilwell Canary Girls that’s bugging me. I’ve found so much of my research for P.L. intriguing, and this is one of many stories which seem to belong to a wider audience. So today I decided to contact Maureen Rushton, who has, in many ways, been responsible for highlighting this piece of extraordinary Nottingham History. She studied the Canary Girls for a degree, and for several years now has been doing talks all over Nottingham about them. She’s even written a book.
I’m meeting Maureen soon because I think there’s a musical play in this, especially appropriate with the centenary of World War I next year, of course. It would be wonderful to bring the Canary Girls back to life, and explore their story, working in the busiest shell-production factory of WWI, with theatre and music – maybe even some of the songs from the era… and maybe even some of the dances!