12 Silk Handkerchiefs
12 Silk Handkerchiefs, Reg Meuross’s 2018 album inspired by Brian W. Lavery’s book The Headscarf Revolutionaries, opened a window on Hull’s Hessle Road fishing community in the aftermath of the Triple Trawler Disaster of 1968. Joined on stage by stalwarts of the Hull folk scene, musicians Mick McGarry and Sam Martyn, Reg’s powerful songs are interwoven with narration from author Brian W. Lavery and an audio/visual show that includes rarely-seen archive footage, photos and audio from the time of the disaster. Three Hull trawlers, the St Romanus, the Kingston Peridot and the Ross Cleveland perished and 58 men died in what became known as the Dark Winter.
Fighting fishwife Lillian Billoca’s subsequent successful campaign for improved trawler safety; sole survivor Harry Eddom who returned to sea just 11 weeks after the sinking; and the superstitions, lives and deaths of all those affected: all of these stories are contained within a fascinating and moving work of social and political history described as Meuross’s “most important work to date” by Pennyblack Music.
Reg himself says: “12 Silk Handkerchiefs is a classic tale of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and the mighty strength of the human spirit. For years the Hull trawlermen and their families fought for survival in the harshest of working conditions: frozen seas with very little safety or protection. It took Lillian and her fellow revolutionaries to fight the companies who were exploiting this community’s poverty and need for work. They took on the Government itself until desperately needed changes in the safety laws were made.
“If ever there was a story of survival vs greed, honour vs entitlement, courage and bravery vs careless exploitation, this is it. I believe such a story in living memory needs to be told now, and remembered for the future.”
Those fans of Reg’s music so accustomed to seeing his intimate solo performances at folk clubs and festivals across the land will be stunned by the power of this show, and those new to him will find it impossible not to be moved by this emotional and humbling tribute to the many, many lives lost to what was once the most dangerous industry in the world.
“Meuross has achieved something rare and important: he has reanimated a valuable piece of history, and he has done so with great sincerity and emotional depth. 12 Silk Handkerchiefs is a fitting tribute not just to Lillian Bilocca, but to the power of individuals to bring about change for the better. – Thomas Blake, Folk Radio UK
A finely spun tribute… rich in honest emotion, deep humanity, resonant lyrics and infectious melodies. – Mike Davies, Folking.com
Further confirming Reg Meuross as one of the most eloquent and compelling singer-songwriters ever – David Pratt, Fatea Magazine
This performance is part of our 241 Member’s offer. Please ask for details.
Date of event:26th January 2023
Event details:MUSIC, THEATRE