Edith Cavell railway carriage

This October, visitors to The Forum in Norwich will have a unique opportunity to step inside a railway carriage with an incredible history.  The carriage, known as the ‘Cavell Van’, transported Edith Cavell’s body from Dover to London in 1919 with full military honours.

The carriage has been renovated and turned into a mini museum and this is the first time it will visit the county of Edith Cavell’s birth. It will be on display outside the Forum from 5-17 October, 10am – 4pm daily, entrance is free and visitors can climb aboard to learn about Edith Cavell’s work and the WWI conflict.

The van is also known for carrying home the bodies of Captain Fryatt in 1919 and the Unknown Warrior in 1920. It is on display courtesy of the Kent and East Sussex Railway www.hfstephens-museum.org.uk

For the centenary commemorations, The Forum has worked with The Edith Cavell 2015 Commemoration Norfolk Partnership, University of East Anglia, Heritage Lottery Fund and Cavell Nurses’ Trust to create a month-long programme entitled ‘Edith Cavell: A Nurse and Her Legacy’.

Edith Cavell railway carriage

From 5-17 October visitors can see an exhibition inside The Forum by the Cavell Nurses’ Trust which explores life in a WWI field hospital and the lasting legacy of Edith Cavell’s work.

From 5-30 October visitors can see other exhibitions, films and talks including:

–          ‘A Nurse, Misremembered?’ – an exhibition in the Gallery reception area created by four undergraduate History students, aimed at children and families. Edith Cavell’s life is explored under four themes – early life, nursing, gender and bravery, and propaganda. Funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the students have created an interactive exhibition which encourages people to consider Edith’s life and the way in which she is remembered. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 4.30pm (also open on Sun 11 Oct)

–          ‘Nursing Now: Cavell’s Legacy’ – an exhibition by the University of East Anglia’s School of Health Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities. This exhibition in the Gallery explores the way nursing has evolved as a profession in the last century. There will also be an opportunity to watch Edith Cavell related films and view displays and artefacts. Open Mon – Sat, 10am-4.30pm (also open on Sun 11 Oct)

–          There is a programme of Edith Cavell talks and events in The Forum’s Auditorium, many of which are free drop-in events.  Several lectures being delivered at the UEA’s Cavell Building are also being live streamed to the Forum, providing an opportunity for the public to hear these talks

–          Visitors can view two further exhibitions in the Auditorium lobby; Edith Cavell’s artwork and the work of local artist John Finnie, who has created a special collection of Edith Cavell themed work

–          For full details of the talks and events please visit theforumnorwich.co.uk

Jayne Evans, Events and Partnerships Manager at The Forum said: “The more you read about Edith Cavell, the more fascinating her story becomes. Her sense of duty and self-sacrifice was characteristic of a 19th century women, yet her vision and ambition rivalled that of any 20th century campaigner. She helped lay the foundations of modern nursing, continuing her work in the midst of a dreadful conflict. This anniversary of her death is an opportunity for us all not only to remember an extraordinary woman, but to commemorate the sacrifices made by so many 100 years ago.”

Throughout October, commemorative events will take place across Norfolk, the UK, Belgium and Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the execution of Edith Cavell.

Edith Cavell was a nurse from Swardeston in Norfolk who saved the lives of soldiers during WWI, treating the wounded from both sides without distinction. She also helped over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. Edith Cavell was arrested by the German authorities and on the morning of 12 October 1915, she was executed by firing squad.

Edith Cavell is being remembered at events in The Forum, Norwich Cathedral, the Norfolk Record Office, Norwich Castle Museum, St Peter Mancroft, St Mary’s church Swardeston and at other locations. For further information of these city-wide events please visit edithcavell.org.uk


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