Feral Productions’ Hush Now films
Feral Productions’ Hush Now films are now available to watch.
Originally performed as a site-specific production across 9 different locations in Hereford in 2019, Hush Now was adapted to be filmed live on stage and premiered online at The Courtyard in March to critical acclaim.
Hush Now aims to give voice and visibility to the unmarried women who experienced unexpected pregnancies. These women were silenced, stigmatised and hidden away in mother and baby homes. Feral Productions are proud to give them a voice and visibility.
Since their successful digital tour of the West Midlands, Feral Productions have filmed nine short films. Each film tells the story of an unmarried mother, stigmatised, silenced and hidden away.
In 1900 Bryony became pregnant with her brother’s child. She was sent to The Lodge, 7 Ferrers Street, Hereford, by a Rescue Worker. The Lodge was a refuge, providing temporary help for girls and women before they were placed in Maternity Homes elsewhere. Bryony experienced severe depression following the birth of her baby and was sent to Hereford County and City Lunatic Asylum in Burghill. Incest was a common problem in rural communities, leading to a Government enquiry into its prevalence in the early 1920s.
Cuckooflower was 14 years old when she became pregnant by the local choirmaster in 1958. Her mother (who was also in a relationship with him) sent her to The Haven at Barton Road, Hereford. During the 1950s, this became a training home for girls aged 15-18 years to learn cookery, housework and dressmaking. After absconding twice, Cuckooflower was eventually sent to a Mother and Baby Home in London.
Foxglove worked in Rotherwas Munitions Factory by day, and as a prostitute in Hereford by night. She had five babies, all born at St Martin’s Mother and Baby Home. At 44, she was the oldest woman admitted there in the early 1960s, before The Pill became more widely available.
When she became pregnant in 1930, Cowslip (or Anne) was sent to The Haven (by this time at 12 Bridge Street, Hereford) and then to Bartestree Convent. Her baby died shortly after birth and was buried there in an unmarked grave. Cowslip remained at Bartestree for the rest of her life. Many women with learning difficulties remained in institutions after the birth of their children.
Love-In-A-Mist worked at Rotherwas Munitions Factory in the First World War and was sent to The Lodge’s new premises at 13 St Nicholas Street, Hereford (re-named The Haven). She was placed in St Francesca’s Maternity Home in Lichfield Avenue, Hereford. Love-In-A-Mist and the baby’s father eventually married and were able to keep their child following a short period in foster care.
Bellbind became pregnant in 1955 as the result of a relationship with a married bank manager. All parties concerned agreed to participate in the child’s upbringing. Bellbind went to St Martin’s Mother and Baby Home – her story illustrates the various occupations of the unmarried mothers there.
Forget-Me-Not was in the Land Army during the Second World War. She became pregnant by an American soldier stationed in Herefordshire and was sent to Bartestree Convent. It was impossible to trace the father’s whereabouts after the end of the war and the baby was subsequently adopted.
Clockflower was sent to St Martin’s Mother and Baby Home, Walnut Tree Avenue, Hereford in 1951. She sought an Affiliation Order (the manner by which an unmarried mother could compel a putative or alleged father of a child to pay support) but was unsuccessful. Her baby was adopted.
Daisy was a servant in the late 1880s. She was repeatedly raped by the master of the house and became pregnant. She was sent to The Convent of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, Bartestree, to work in the laundry. It is not known what happened to her baby. After she left Bartestree Daisy was sent back into service.
We’re delighted to be working with Feral Productions on Last Call. Last Call explores the history of local telephone boxes. Keep your eyes peeled for more information coming soon!