Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole
I have been fairly silent about Resting Place lately but now that Silent Cacophony and The Silence of Knitting are finished the planning for RP can continue. We are busy researching potential venues and the website will be launched very soon. Resting Place: Ellington Park will take place towards the end of March 2014 and details will be announced as soon as it is finalised
I had a very busy and interesting day in London on Tues 3rd Dec looking at potential venues and making plans with Platform-7.
When I first began researching the archive and diary (about 2007/8) I visited the Museum of The Order of St John (the St John Ambulance) at Clerkenwell. At that time they didn’t have very much there about the work of VAD’s, but the fact that Clarice writes about having to go there for an interview made it an interesting location.
My visit there this week was a very different one. Following a substantial grant from HLF the museum has undergone a complete transformation and although they still have very little about WW1 VAD’s (and I think this is mainly because most of the VAD archive is stored with the Red Cross) I made two very interesting discoveries.
In time of war everyone has an idea that they ought either to join the Army or Navy and if they are unfortunate enough to belong to the female sex, ammunition work or nursing! Naturally every woman, girl, and even child who has anyone fighting for their country feel they absolutely must do something definitely – to help.
These were the feelings of my two friends and myself. Each day we would ask one another What we should do! Could we nurse! Yes! Would the War Office employ people that were willing, but unable to find sufficient funds for nursing abroad. Still we wondered! However, where there is a will there is a way! The same evening I wrote to Col. Perroth?, Chief Secretary of St John Ambulance to hear what could be done for us.
When I had originally transcribed the diary I couldn’t make out the exact spelling of the name Col. Perroth, hence the question mark. However, yesterday I discovered this
and that her husband was Col. Perrott. A small piece of the jigsaw found.
Clarice goes on to say
The next letter informed us we should be interviewed by ‘The Matron in Chief’ at St Johns Gate, Clerkenwell the following Monday Sept 6th. A travelling voucher would be given us for that day enabling us to travel in uniform at half the usual fare. There was nothing further to be done until Monday morning. So we waited with what patience we could.
So it looks like it might have been Lady Perrott that Clarice went to meet. Finding confirmation of snippets of information from the diary is always exciting and serves to enhance the feeling of being slapped in the face by the past.
Museum of The Order of St John – well worth a visit