Red Maids’ turns back time to WW1

Red Maids’ School will be turning back time this week for a dramatic reconstruction of the Red Cross Hospital that was based at the school during World War One.

Over several months, students have researched national and international archives for letters, pictures and documents dating back to 1916 to build up a picture of the war-time Red Cross Hospital.

Using the information collected they have created a series of scenes for a promenade drama which will bring the past to life for local primary school children on Friday 19 June and a specially-invited audience on Saturday 20 June.

Visitors will hear about the “terrifying” Sister-in-Charge, Ada Coles, authentic banter from the troops, and a recreation of a visit by the Red Maids themselves, including the “naughty” Edna Stole.

The final scene will be the recreation of a photograph from the school’s archives of wounded soldiers in hospital beds, played by boys from QEH School, with Red Cross nurses in attendance, played by girls from Red Maids’ School.

Pupils from Westbury-on-Trym CE Academy, Horfield Primary, Silverhill School, Gracefield School and Red Maids’ Junior School will all be taking part in the Living History Event on Friday. It is hoped that the drama will increase their understanding of the First World War and give an insight into how the war affected local communities.

Putting together this event has been an amazing and thought-provoking experience for everyone involved,” said Senior Teacher Hadrian Briggs. “The girls have carried out an incredible amount of research and preparation for this unique event and I am sure that our visitors will learn a lot from the performance.

In 1916 Red Maids’ School was commandeered as a Red Cross Hospital for soldiers injured at the Somme and subsequent battles and Red Maids’ School relocated to The Manor House Clifton for the remainder of the war, returning to their current site in 1920.

David Giles, President of the British Red Cross in Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire, who is attending the event on Saturday, said: “We at the British Red Cross would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Red Maid’s School for the incredible amount of research and effort they’ve put into this event.

“It will give audiences an amazing insight into the role of Red Cross hospitals during the First World War and the 90,000 Red Cross volunteers (known as VADs) who did everything from nursing injured troops to driving ambulances and raising funds to care for the sick and wounded. As a member of today’s Red Cross I can vouch for the fact it is as relevant as it was then and continues to help people in crisis in the UK and overseas.”

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