Record unearths tales of women’s lives during the Great War

No Petticoats Here

No Petticoats Here - Credit: Archant

The real-life stories of women who saw the Great War will be told at Cambridge Folk Club later this month through the medium of song.

Part of her 22-date UK tour, Louise Jordan will visit the group on November 11 to perform No Petticoats Here – a record inspired by Dorothy Lawrence, who was just 17-years-old when she dressed as a soldier to visit the Western Front.

An orphan, Dorothy travelled from her guardian’s home in Salisbury Cathedral Close all the way to the frontline in pursuit of her dream to be a journalist, and now, Louise is following her story as well as other women who laughed in the face of societal boundaries.

From ambulance drivers to scientists, footballers to spies, Louise’s is the result of 12 months’ hard work, which has taken her to the battlefields of the Somme, the Belgian frontline at Pervijse, and to countless museums and research centres.

“The First World War too often remembers women as the mourners of the fallen, as frugal housewives ‘making do’ or angelic nurses caring patiently for the men who returned from the frontline,” Louise said.

“Through No Petticoats Here I remember some of the many women whose stories do not fit conveniently into boxes and whose experiences are both astonishing and relatable 100 years on.”

Louise has even been in touch with the relatives of some of the women, plus biographers, to unearth even more detail.

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Her songs include a rhythmic piano record about a bold Frenchwoman, called Queen of Spies, as well as Main which tells the story of a broken friendship.

Ripple and Flow then turns to Hertha Ayrton’s scientific achievements using clarinet, and piano, while Toil, Women, Toil features a single snare drum for the resolute march of army women workers.

Cambridge Folk Club meets at The Golden Hind, in Milton Road, and Louise will perform at 8pm.

Tickets cost £10 on the door, £9 in advance and 38 for members.

To book, call 01638 603 986 or visit