Jun 14 2024

Minerva Scientifica Birthdays 2024: Florence Attridge

14th June 2024Florence Attridge
Radio Technician
BORN 14th June 1901, Chelmsford, Essex, England

“Thinking I Hear Thee Call” by Cheryl Frances-Hoad

This short Zoom Opera for soprano, speaker and electronics, was inspired by the life of Florence Attridge (1901-1975) an Essex woman who, whilst working at the Marconi factory in Chelmsford during WWII, helped to make secret radio sets for spies.

Florence Attridge Radio Engineer

Frances M Lynch – Florence Attridge
Margaret Cameron – Spy

We hear Florence recount her experiences, whilst, in another, secret location, in another time, a spy goes through the radio’s (complicated!) set up instructions one last time before going on their first reconnaissance mission. The electronic element takes sounds that are associated with Florence’s life and the history of Marconi, including morse code and “Absent”, the first song to be broadcast from the factory. The text for Florence’s part was written by Frances M Lynch based on research by Dr Patricia Fara, and the speakers text comes from the official manual for the The British Type 3 Mark II Spy Radio. Find out more about the music & Florence Attridge here

Listen to Essex born composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad and science historian Dr Patricia Fara, Emeritus Fellow of Clare College Cambridge discussing the secret life of Florence Attridge before the composer started work on the music:-

PODCAST EPISODE 4: Music for Marconi’s Secret Engineer
“Women of Science & Music: 30 celebrations”

click the blue arrow above to listen

The British Type 3 Mark II radio (From Wikipedia / Chelmsford Museum)

Thinking I Hear Thee Call” by Cheryl Frances-Hoad was commissioned by electric voice theatre as part of  our Connections 2020 project “Echoes from Essex – Minerva Scientifica” and was first performed online during the Covid-19 Pandemic on Aug 24th 2020 for Chelmsford Civic Theatre. It was produced at Birnam Studios London by Frances M Lynch & Herbie Clarke
The project was supported by the Arts Council Emergency Response Fund (National Lottery).
Cheryl Frances-Hoad is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators and published by Chester Music Limited.


Minerva Scientifica – Connections 2020

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