Thursday, 25 March 2010
Lady Day and a friend's birthday, so thought I would send virtual flowers and cakes via Mrs Ainsley. It could so easily have been an embroidery of some form of public transport!
Victor Ainsley opened his first shop at Headingley, Leeds, in 1938. Over the next 30 years he worked with his wife May to expand the business. They specialised in fresh-from-the-oven bread and cakes and were among the first bakers to capitalise on the take-away sandwich market. In 2009 there were 29 shops but at the end of the year the company went into administration.
Jill Rutter wrote this when she had completed the figure
"I first heard about the Leeds Tapestry in an article in a local newspaper in April 1994. The idea of the Tapestry intrigued me, but I did not have any spare time to get involved then.
Some years later when Leeds Girls' High School decided to hold a workshop to stitch figures for the tapestry, I decided to get involved. The workshop was fascinating - how to stitch real people using photographs as a guide. First of all I stitched my daughter, Emma, as she was a pupil at the school. Then I stitched my son, Simon, and also two oriental girls. My husband's pharmacy business sponsored part of the Civic Pride panel.
Some time later I was asked if I would stitch the figure of Mrs Ainsley for the Leeds in Bloom panel. I was delighted to do this as both my own and my husband's family were friends of hers. The figure took many hours to complete (32), and the details were stitched as accurately as possible using a photograph as a guide.
I would have liked to have done more stitching for the tapestry but unfortunately my husband's business was undergoing major reorganisation, and this and family commitments took over all my spare time. As one's children get more independent, unfortunately one's parents get less so"
Ann Wheatley worked on the charting for the building and Lizzie Ingle did the cross stitch.