12 Silk Handkerchiefs - A song cycle and multi media show about the Hull Triple Trawler Disaster of 1968 and the revolutionary Lillian Bilocca
Reg Meuross’s song cycle, which tells of fighting fishwife Lillian Bilocca who led a battle for better trawler safety following the Triple Trawler Disaster of 1968, is at the heart of this multi-media show. Three Hull trawlers, the St Romanus, the Kingston Peridot and the Ross Cleveland perished in as many weeks in what became known as the Dark Winter in which 58 men died.
The songs were inspired by the book, The Headscarf Revolutionaries by Brian W Lavery, who provides a powerful narration to the show, weaving his words and an audio/visual slide show including rarely-seen archive footage, photos and audio of Harry Eddom, the disaster’s sole survivor and mate of the Ross Cleveland. The book’s title is now shorthand for the four women Lillian Bilocca, Mary Denness, Yvonne Blenkinsop and Christine Jensen MBE (formerly Smallbone) who fought the trawler bosses in a campaign which ended in Westminster and in a radical improvement of safety requirements on the ships.
The show also covers a fourth tragedy telling how Lillian Bilocca was ostracised by her community and overlooked by history, ending her days in obscurity. The show’s title comes from Lil’s last action in 1988 as she lay dying, which was to send her daughter Virginia to buy a dozen handkerchiefs to give as gifts to those who had cared for her in hospital.
The venue is situated in Brookfield Gardens on the site of the old Unitarian Church. Access from the street is via a flight of steps with, currently, no ramped access for wheelchairs. Park for free after 6.30pm at West Kirby Concourse, only 4 minutes walk away, as there is no on street parking available at the venue. Licensed bar available.