Public/Community Benefit

Project Mount Felix - Walton-on-Thames

Riverhouse Arts CentreThe Embroiderers' Guild was pleased to support the Mount Felix Project, a local community stitch project in Walton-on-Thames led by the Riverhouse Arts Centre.

The project commemorated the centenary of the Mount Felix Hospital in Walton (New Zealand General Hospital 2), which was set up in 1915 to treat Soldiers from New Zealand wounded at Gallipoli and later battles during WWI. By the time the hospital closed just 4 years later, the hospital had seen over 27,000 patients, not to mention numerous staff required to keep the Hospital running, many of who had travelled as volunteers from New Zealand and some of whom were local to Walton.

As a narrative for the tapestry, some wonderful stories of nurses and wounded New Zealand soldiers who met and fell in love with their future wives during their time at Mount Felix, were identified.

Artist Andrew Crummy, whose credits include the Prestonpans Tapestry (104m long community stitch project in Scotland) and the Great Scottish Tapestry, was commissioned to design the Tapestry, which comprised 40 panels. These panels were stitched by various community groups ranging from primary schools to experienced embroiderers.

A selection of the Stories:

Miss Winifred Alderton & Private Pita PoipoiLance Corporal Alexander Grant was an international rugby player in NZ before he joined up, was injured at Gallipoli and came to Mount Felix to recuperate. He met a Miss Rosewell of Shepperton over an 'ivy clad' wall at Mount Felix, and the buttonholes were ivy at their wedding in Walton.

Private Pita Poipoi, a Maori Soldier met Miss Winifred Alderton of Terrace Rd, Walton while he was convalescing at the Hospital.
Mount Felix Hospital NurseSister Edith Popplewell, a New Zealand nurse 'Poppy' who survived after the transport ship she was on 'the Marquette' was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean Sea. She was awarded the First Class medal of the Royal Red Cross (her brother was killed at Gallipoli) - She nursed at Mount Felix after the sinking of the Marquette.

Private Randal and Edith Borthwick Browne (nurse), both from New Zealand met at Mount Felix while he was recovering from being wounded at Gallipoli.

In 1917 A Friendship quilt was sent by Timaru Church Guild in 1917 with hand embroidered messages to the soldiers and £4. This has recently turned up in a junk shop!

Here are some links to more information on these stories: (1917 quilt)

and the Edith Popplewell Story

The image to the right is a blanket found recently with messages from home to Kiwi soldiers at Mount Felix. Click on the link for more information on this story

Mount Felix Blanket

The launch of the project took place on Anzac Day - 25th April 2015 and the finished tapestry was displayed in the Robert Phillips Gallery in April 2016 before touring the Borough of Elmbridge.

The Great Scottish Tapestry

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The Great Scottish Tapestry is the brainchild of author Alexander McCall Smith. Based on the Bayeux Tapestry, it is a stitched record of the history of Scotland from the Ice Age to the present day. The artist is Andrew Crummy who was involved in the drawings for the very successful Preston Pans Tapestry completed some three years ago. The same long suffering team are over all in charge of this project.

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Currently there are some 160, 1m x 1m panels being stitched on fabric with crewel wool. Additional panels have been added as people suggest other aspects of Scottish history that should be included! People throughout Scotland are participating in the project. Read more.

Four Community Projects from Bolton Branch

Bolton Market

bolton-market.pngThe first was a hanging based on the fresh produce of Bolton Market and was to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Branch. Members took photographs and made drawings in the market then we all worked on our separate pieces which were finally applied to a background fabric as slips. Eventually 27 members contributed work and their names are listed on the back. The finished piece was displayed in Bolton Library for a while and is now on the wall of the Horwich Resource Centre, which is where we hold our meetings.

In Remembrance

COMMUNITY---Bolton---Church.jpgThe second piece was in remembrance of a member who died. After consulting her family, we decided to make a pulpit fall for her local church showing a design of a cross with roundels to represent the seasons which reflected Nancy’s deep love of the natural world and echoed the woodwork in the Church. Several members were involved in making the roundels, one doing the machine embroidery and another, the hand stitching, whilst other members made the cross and applied the pieces to the background. It was finally made up and several members went to the service of dedication.

Tabards for the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh


What takes 8 metres of fabric, 6 metres of lining, 150 metres of gold cord, 75 metres of red cord in two different widths, 50 metres of gold braid and 13 metres of broad ribbon?

Answer: Three tabards for the Pursuivants at the Court of The Lord Lyon in Edinburgh.

Now that is a challenge and, under the leadership of Eileen Rumble, who is well used to the specifications required for royal commissions, the Dundee and East of Scotland Branch took it on!

Not everyone who volunteered to join the stitching team was familiar with the stitching techniques used in this project and some of the materials used can be difficult to work with but after a few training workshops and demonstrations, Eileen made sure we knew what we had to do and made us believe in our ability to complete the project on schedule. We had a deadline to meet!

On permanent display in the Mayor’s Parlour

Commissioned in 1976 by the Mayoress of Cheltenham, Cotswold Branch designed and stitched a panel to celebrate the Cheltenham Charter. The panel was designed by Mrs. Robinson at the Art College and was divided into portions and worked on by members including Sally-Ann Boyd, May Williams, Isobel Elliot and others. It was presented to the Mayor and is still in the Mayor’s Parlour. The panel was on display for a short time at the 2013 AGM. The Mayor, Colin Hay and his wife, Councillor Rowena Hay were guests at the Gala Dinner.


Extract from an article written by Maureen Pallister under ‘Memories’ as part of the history of the Cotswold Branch when the branch celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

The Liverpool Tapestry – People, Places and Passions

The inspiration for the Liverpool Tapestry project was the designation of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008. T.J Morris Limited established a creative initiative called ‘Go Create ‘08’, to encourage and promote the work of artists, photographers and designers. Part of this plan was to create a tapestry to commemorate the city, as a lasting artwork made by the people of Liverpool to celebrate their memories of the city, funded entirely by the company.

The Operations director of the company, Joe Morris, approached the Merseyside Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild to supervise the project. The then branch Chairman, Gill Roberts, and the deputy chair, Elsie Watkins, had a meeting with Joe and agreed to become project manager and designer respectively of the Tapestry. Joe’s aim was for a project that involved the community as a whole; he was very keen that all ages and abilities be included and that a sense of community would be intrinsic to the project.

The Guildford Embroidery

JW-Guildford-Embroidery--250x154.jpgCreated in memory of Mike Nevins, Mayor of Guildford 2007-8, was unveiled by the Mayor of Guildford Cllr Jennifer Jordan on 10 April 2013. Two friends who trained at the Royal School of Needlework, Rhoda Nevins and Kristina Graham teamed up to create a wall hanging for the town of Guildford. The gigantic Guildford Embroidery measures 49 inches high by 90 inches long and has taken four years to complete. The idea came about after a friend sent a postcard to Rhoda depicting the Sunbury Embroidery housed in the Walled Garden in Sunbury. Rhoda and Kristina recruited 25 embroiderers to help them with the task. The overall embroidery gives a 3D effect of the best of Guildford's historic landmarks. These include the high street, the farmer's arket, the Mayor's procession, GuilFest, G-Live, the river with raft racing, 'Guildford in Bloom' and the castle grounds. The Mayor of Guildford Cllr Jennifer Jordan said "I am coming to the end of my Mayoral year and this is certainly one of the highlights. I've been around since the beginning and Rhoda kept bringing me pictures of the work in progress. I am delighted the Guildford Embroidery is in memory of the late Mike Nevins, Rhoda's husband, who was a charming person. Congratulations to Rhoda, Kristina and everyone who has stitched it."

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