World’s largest community textile project to visit Lancashire

Community tapestry on display
Community tapestry on display
Detail of community tapestry
Detail of community tapestry

An exhibition created by 4,000 people in 15 countries telling the story of our lives over the last 350 years will go on display for the first time in Lancashire at Blackburn Cathedral from the 1st to the 28th February 2011.

Thirty-nine of the 77 embroidered panels from the Quaker Lake District Tapestry, one of the world’s largest community textile project, will travel to Blackburn from their permanent home at the Quaker Tapestry Centre in Kendal, Cumbria.

The award-winning tapestry celebrates social history from the 17th century to the present day, including such events, subjects and characters as George Stephenson, the Irish Potato Famine, the Slave Trade, the Crimean War, William Penn and Pennsylvania, Pope Pius VII, Tsar Nicholas I, Joseph Rowntree, science, marriage, criminal justice, botany, railways and unemployment.

Each of the tapestry panels measures 25” (635mm) x 21” (533mm) and was created in the ‘narrative crewel embroidery’ style of the Bayeux Tapestry. The Tapestry is not the work of experts but was made by men, women and children aged between 4 and 90. Since its first public exhibition, the Tapestry has travelled to 150 venues in the UK, Europe and America.

The free exhibition includes a film, audio guides, children’s activities, gift shop and opportunities to see embroiderers working. Opening times are 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Groups of 15 or more should book in advance and will be given a welcome introductory talk.

For further information and bookings please telephone 01539 722975 or email

For all media queries, including requests for images, please contact Emma Dewhurst on 015395 64193 or by email:


Notes to editors:

The Quaker Tapestry, created in the 1980’s over a 15 year period, is a celebration of more than 300 years of history linked to Quakers.

At least half of those involved in its creation were men and boys. Indeed, it came into being as a result of a chance remark by an 11 year old boy to his teacher, Anne Wynn-Wilson an accomplished embroiderer. It inspired her vision for a number of large tapestry panels telling something of the Quaker story and their beliefs.

A special stitch was invented for the narrative embroidery, a corded stitch that can be worked in different weights, and it is recognised by the Royal College of Needlework at the Quaker stitch.