Croome Plumlines exhibition

Viscountess Deerhurst

This exhibition ended in March 2019.

The ‘Plumlines’ exhibition is a collection of real life stories expressed through 188 one-hundred word poems, written by people from across Worcestershire about a female relatives life during the First World War and is on display from 19 November 2016 until 19 March 2019.

The inspiration for Plumlines came from a little known story at Croome, of how a woman before her time the inspiring American heiress Viscountess Deerhurst, helped the 9th Earl of Coventry see the many ways in which women could provide crucial support to the men at the front line.

It was Virginia’s commitment and strength that helped Lord Coventry mobilise Pershore’s first ever Women’s Institute (WI), by encouraging 100 women to meet. The WI’s jam making skills, using the Pershore plum, helped the war effort at home and on the on the battlefields where it was sent to help keep up the calorie intake of the troops.

Plumlines poetry seedlings
Croome Plumlines exhibition table
Plumlines poetry seedlings

The exhibition

Working with two poets, Brenda Read-Brown and Heather Wastie, Croome held workshops with schools, writers groups, history groups and volunteers. They were tasked with researching a female relative from the First World War to bring her story to life in a one-hundred word poem.

The beautiful poem which you will read on the walls of the Plumlines exhibition was written by Heather Wastie and Brenda Read-Brown.

The poem was written in one of the Plumlines workshop and is based on the history of the Hill family in Rochford near Tenbury Wells. Alice was my great grandmother, my father's mother's mother.

Sadly Alice only survived her lost son Edward Hill by two years, she died in 1916 long before a memorial was even thought of. However there was a mention of her son on her memorial stone and his name is on the war memorial in Rochford Church.

All the sons and daughters of the Hill family are buried in Rochford churchyard, except my grandmother Edith, and Edward whose body was never found." Ann Gath.

" Some of the people who took part had never written poetry before, but every single poem is beautifully written, moving and has an important story to tell."

Artist Su Blackwell was commissioned to create a fitting way to exhibit them in the house.  She transformed them into 188 saplings using paper, each one containing a unique poem. 

Plumlines artist Su Blackwell
Croome Plumlines Su Blackwell
Plumlines artist Su Blackwell

These saplings form part of a larger exhibition in the house where visitors can see a book containing all 188 poems, poetry displayed on walls, jam jars and utensils.  

Su Blackwell amongst the saplings
Su Blackwell
Su Blackwell amongst the saplings

The exhibition will run until 19 March 2019.

Plum jam at the exhibition
Plum jam
Plum jam at the exhibition

Part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts.