This brand new play weaves together the stories of Lieutenant Abbie Sweetwine, who treated those injured in the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash, and the modern paramedics who've followed in her footsteps.
During the morning rush hour on 8 October 1952, three trains collided at Harrow & Wealdstone station, causing over a hundred deaths and hundreds of casualties. Part of an emergency medical team, Abbie was the only nurse at the crash site and a black woman – one of the few then serving in the US Air Force.
Dubbed 'The Angel of Platform Six' by the Daily Mirror, honoured by the Variety Club of Great Britain for her life-saving work and interviewed by Life magazine, Abbie and her story are surprisingly little-known today. But the triage tactics she used at Harrow proved that getting patients to hospital as fast as possible wasn't always the way, and paved the way for today's paramedics.
Modern paramedics are still put on a pedestal as “angels”, but almost half of all black and Asian staff have also been abused or threatened at work. This performance explores the past and present of women medical workers' conflicting experiences, from being nominated for awards to being attacked by their patients.
Sharing a hidden history from Harrow, 'Harrow's Angels' celebrates today's emergency workers and the actions of a black nurse who saved lives not only on the day of the crash, but through the example she set for the future.
Actor: Rochelle Wilson
Director: Erica Miller
Historical research: John Bull
Writer: Kate Webster
Production supported by the Unity Theatre Trust
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