Mabel's collection inspiring creativity in Chester


Staff reporter (Chester First)

WORK produced as part of a special First World War project has been exhibited at a special event.

Mabel’s War is a partnership project with the Cheshire Military Museum and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Grosvenor Museum.

The work produced has been put on display at the Military Museum.

Mabel’s War is part of Cheshire’s Great War Stories, a project commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

The event at St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Hill, Chester, was an opportunity to thank all those who participated and celebrate the work produced.  

The groups involved used the 100-year-old note books of Mabel Harriet Earp, a volunteer nurse from Cheshire who collected stories, poems, letters and drawings from the soldiers she cared for in the First World War to create four very different pieces of work.  

Manley Primary School pupils became detectives and discovered all about the life of Mabel and looked at the variety of things that had been recorded in her notebooks.

They followed in her footsteps by keeping their own scrapbooks over the last few months and each child picked their favourite page, which has been used as part of the Mabel’s War display.

West Cheshire College’s adult literacy group worked with poet Dominic Berry to use what they had learned about Mabel’s life and her work as a nurse to write poems.  

The college’s health and social care groups compared the qualities they have in their care work with the qualities they thought Mabel had as a volunteer nurse.  

They worked with artist Juliet Staines using different techniques and materials, including sewing, ironing and bandages to make their own individual scrapbook pages.  These are also on display at the Military Museum.  

Over 10 weeks a group of seven to 11-year-olds worked with Steph Brocken from Minerva Arts to create a new piece of drama based on Mabel’s notebooks using the soldiers’ comments and drawings as inspiration.

The celebration event included a performance of the finished piece and was followed by a chance to see the other work that has been created as part of the wider Mabel’s War project.

There was also Great War inspired nibbles and free entry to the Cheshire Military Museum to see the Mabel’s War display.

Free drama workshops, for children aged seven to 11, took place at the Cheshire Military Museum, and were run by artistic director Steph Brocken, from Minerva Arts.

Mrs Brocken said: “It has been exciting to see how the drama project developed each week and to be able to use the fascinating story of Mabel and her 100-year-old notebooks.”

The Mabel’s War digital exhibition will be available to view at the Cheshire Military Museum until June 3.

On Thursday, April 17, there will be a talk on Mabel and the project and at Easter families will have the opportunity to be inspired and draw like Mabel.  

These events will take place at the military museum. 

See full story in the Chester Leader

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