A play based on a set of letters between a group of Bridgnorth girls is coming home to the place where their friendship first blossomed. The girls whose fascinating stories feature in ‘My Dearest Girls’ were all pupils at Bridgnorth Endowed School, and their letters cover the period from 1917 to 1920, as some of them moved away to places such as London, Bury and Kent. The play’s producer, Pippa Frith, found the letters in the Shropshire Archives and reached out to the Endowed to find out more about the girls. A history group from Bridgnorth Library also contributed, creating a display that will be available to view in the school’s Old Hall.
Jane Peeler, the librarian at the Endowed, has started creating an archive about the school’s pupils and staff, and is passionate about sharing the school’s history. She explains, “I wanted to bring the girls home to our historic Old Hall, where it all started. Their stories are particularly relevant with this year being the anniversary of the end of hostilities in 1918 as well as the celebration of 100 years of women’s suffrage. It’s so important that voices such as those of our girls are heard, and that people don’t forget the struggles women went through – and still go through.”
The six girls kept in touch using a ‘round robin’ system – each would add her own letter to the bunch and then send them on. The letters cover details of the girls’ everyday lives as a farmer’s wife, factory worker, a dance teacher, a nurse and an office worker, as well as matters of global importance such as women’s suffrage and the realities of World War I.
‘My Dearest Girls’, featuring Francesca Millican-Slater in partnership with Arts Alive, will be performed on Armistice Day, Sunday 11 November at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be provided by the Endowed’s own coffee company. Call 01746 762103 for further details.