Canary Girls play comes to town museum

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A new play that honours the women who worked in the Chilwell munitions factory during the First World War will be performed at Erewash Museum next month.

Swan Canaries, created by Nottingham-based Arletty Theatre, is inspired by the story of the Chilwell Canary Girls, who packed shells for the front at the biggest factory of its kind in England. A tragic explosion killed 139 people – including some of the women – on July 1 1918.

The workers were called ‘canary girls’ because the TNT they packed into the shells made their skin turn yellow.

When the disastrous explosion ripped through the factory, workers – many with injuries – remained at the site tending to the dead and wounded.

Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s lead member for culture and leisure, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this performance to Erewash, it is a very poignant play that is especially moving as it is inspired by a local story in this centenary year that marks the outbreak of the First World War.”