Recent New Material on Edith Cavell

NEW An opera telling Edith Cavell’s story – IMPORTANT UPDATE MARCH 2021

The manuscript scores of Acts 1 and 2 of a ‘lost’ opera on Edith Cavell by Maltese composer Paolino Vassallo (1856-1923) were discovered in Norfolk in 2017.  (See more on Vassallo at:

After a long search the manuscript of the third Act was found in Malta in late 2018 and the score’s 300 A3 pages have been transcribed for reproduction. A piano accompaniment version has also been produced with a new English translation of the libretto.

A concert version of the opera was to have been heard for the first time in nearly 100 years on June 26th 2021 in the Piazza Teatru Ryal in Valletta, Malta (on the site of its original performance in 1927). Sadly this has had to be abandoned because of Covid restrictions – planning is underway for the revival to be held in mid 2022.

Plans are in hand to perform the opera  in a concert version  the UK later on, with a recording and a subsequent fully staged production. Further information from:

NEW FindMyPast webinar, 20 January 2021
A 75 minute webinar on Edith Cavell featured on YouTube and Facebook involving Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Peter Doll and Nick Miller from Swardeston. It can be seen at : It has been seen by 500+ people to date.

Letter from Edith Cavell to her mother July 26 1915
Norwich Cathedral have recently been given a hitherto unknown letter – see details at:
Additional background can be seen here (downloads pdf files):
Background For Edith Cavell Letter
Photos for Background to Edith Cavell Letter

Remembering Edith Cavell amid Covid-19
Reflections for the 105th anniversary of her execution October 2020
Sections on, The WWI crisis: preparation and response, ‘Lockdown’ – rules and risks, Isolation and endurance, ‘When better days come’ – a future after the crisis.
Document can be downloaded here (pdf): Remembering Edith Cavell amid Covid 19

Book by Katie PicklesK Pickles cover.jpg

Transnational Outrage: The Death and Commemoration of Edith Cavell, Katie Pickles, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 edn.

This book by a New Zealand professor of history reviews the impact of Edith Cavell’s execution across the world, especially in the British Empire. The author considers in detail the place of the Cavell story in WWI and its memorialisation and the importance of a woman’s story in WWI memory.

A book on Edith by Terri Arthur

The US nurse Terri Arthur has long been a Cavell enthusiast. In 2011 she published a substantial historical novel retelling the Cavell story Fatal Decision: Edith Cavell World War I Nurse. In June 2017 she published an illustrated 78 page book  telling the story for 8-10 year olds Edith Cavell Nurse Hero (£10.95; $11.95)). Her publisher is HenschelHaus in the US – contact them for details of both books (

A 1903 painting by Edith Cavell

A watercolour purchased in a second hand shop in Sheringham, Norfolk in 1965 for 1 shilling was painted by Edith Cavell. It is dated 18/2/1903 and initialled EC in the bottom right hand corner. It was painted whilst she worked at the St Pancras Poor Law Institution. She and a colleague, whose home was in Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, were known to have taken long walks out of London. The old building depicted is probably one they came across on their walks. If you have any suggestions about the building’s whereabouts please send them to

Revd Stirling Gahan’s books

A contact in Leicestershire has recently generously donated Rev Stirling Gahan’s copy of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and other material on the Gahans. Stirling Gahan was the Anglican chaplain in Brussels in World War I and spent time with Edith in her cell the night before her death. These items are accessible via the Archive.

Statuettes of Edith Cavell 1918

The 2019 Cavell Flower Festival featured a collection of statuettes sold after the unveiling of the two statues of Edith Cavell in Tombland Norwich (1918) and St Martin’s Plain London (1920). See this document.

Lighters and matches featuring Edith Cavell 1916

A contact from South Dakota in the USA asked if anything was known about a lighter he foudn when digging near his home. See what has emerged since here.