Soundings from Essex

Soundings from Essex

Join electric voice theatre and Chelmsford City Theatres to celebrate Essex’s splendid women of science!


In eight weekly episodes of music, art and conversation, historian Patricia Fara and modern scientists will discuss the achievements and frustrations of Essex’s female pioneers. Two special editions in September will feature music, art and science created by local people over the summer.

July 27th Episode 1. Margaret Cavendish: The Blazing Star from Colchester

Renowned author of The Blazing World, Margaret Cavendish (1623-73) married one of England’s richest aristocrats but dedicated her life to challenging scientific orthodoxy and the subjugation of women. 
Dr Patricia Fara – Science Historian, Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge
Amy Petts – Analytical Chemistry Technician and STEM Ambassador, Battelle UK 

Aug 3rd Episode 2. Elizabeth Tollet: Stratford’s Scientific Poet

Isaac Newton praised her achievements, yet the poetry of multi-talented Elizabeth Tollet (1694-1754) expresses her resentment at being unjustly excluded from the male world of science.

Aug 10th Episode 3. Ellen Willmott: The Botanical Gardener of Brentwood

A wealthy horticulturalist with a passion for roses, Ellen Willmott (1858-1936) developed her family garden into a world-famous botanical centre and funded international expeditions to discover new plants.

Aug 17th Episode 4. Gulielma Lister: Leytonstone’s World Expert on Fungi

A meticulous observer, illustrator and collector, Gulielma Lister (1860-1949) was world-famous for her research into slime mould and her continual support of younger female scientists.

Aug 24th Episode 5. Florence Attridge: The  Secret Radio Pioneer from Chelmsford

Florence Attridge (1901-75) spent her whole career with Marconi, winning a British Empire Medal after the Second World War for her classified contributions to developing radio spy sets.

Aug 31st Episode 6. Beryl Platt: Baroness of Writtle and Aeroplane Engineer

Trained at Cambridge University, Beryl Platt (1923-2015) was a distinguished engineer and campaigner for female education who worked on fighter aircraft during the Second World War.

Sept 7th Episode 7. Water and Land: Splash, Burble, Gurgle, Whoosh

The World Premiere of a MegaSong written by Essex children with scientists from Essex & Suffolk Water and reflections on the history of women in environmental sciences from the county.

Sept 14th Episode 8. Women of Essex: Forgetting to Remember

Essex Virtual Choir joins Patricia Fara for a celebratory perspective on women in Essex science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine and music through the ages.

Please read information on how to set up your zoom call here


For a flavour of what to expect visit our resource page to listen to the accompanying Minerva Scientifica podcast series Women of Science and Music: 30 Celebrations.



The Echoes from Essex festival has been created by the award-winning electric voice theatre, who have been bringing the stories of the UK’s forgotten female scientists to audiences across the country as part of ‘Minerva Scientifica’. Listen to Essex 2020 podcast #6 to hear Frances and Herbie from electric voice speak about the project.

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