The project was inspired by the discovery of the grave of Leonora Casey Carr (1808 to 1837) in 2010 by Nigel Pocock, in the tiny village of East Tytherton, near Chippenham. Leonora was an Antiguan woman, daughter of General George Carr and her enslaved mother Fanny Loving. She came to England aged nine year old, and was freed soon afterwards.
The discovery of Leonora’s gravestone is of national importance, and is the only one to commemorate the life of an enslaved or freed African in Wiltshire, and one of the few in the United Kingdom.
To read the full story of Leonora Casey Carr and Nigel’s research click here.
Penney was inspired by this unexpected history in the area, and worked with children from Chippenham Primary School to research and interview people in the local area who were born in a different country, to find out their experiences and commonalities.
As Penney herself describes it,
“Hidden Presence is a project inspired by the missed opportunity to document and preserve the story of Leonora’s life and experiences. Our community is diverse and enriched by people from foreign cultures settling among us. The aim of Hidden Presence is to acknowledge the diversity of our community, and our similarities with people from all over the world.”
The work was exhibited in 2015 at Yelde Hall, Chippenham, and at Pound Arts Centre.
To see the work and read the interviews from Hidden Presence Chippenham visit this link
The Global Hidden Presence contributors were;
To read a news article about the project click here.
The original researcher Nigel Pocock created his own creative response to his discovery of Leonora’s grave, and fictionalised an interview with her conducted in 1836, the year before she died. To read it click here.
Hidden Presence Chippenham was partnered by: