Monday, 3 May 2010

Education -Panel and Leeds Grammar School

There were several false starts in the design of the Education Panel but the revised format was ready to go in 1999. The style of the panel reflects the more formal style of the Health Panel, monochrome buildings suggesting that they are the housing for education and the people in glorious technicolour the product and life of the education process.

Leeds Grammar School may have been founded as early as 1341 but it's foundation is usually taken as 6th July 1552, dating from the will of William Sheafield. In 1624 John Harrison provided a new building on North Street (near the site of the Grand Theatre) where the school stayed until 1859 and its move to the new building in Clarendon Road. Rev. Alfred Barry was headmaster at the time and the buildings were designed by his brother (Their father designed the Houses of Parliament). This embroidery shows the architects elevation of the new school built in the 1990s at Alwoodley Gates. Mr Collins was head at the time of that move. When the panel was made the school was for boys only. Now, with the name changed to The Grammar School at Leeds, the girls from Leeds Girl's High School have joined them.

The straight lines of the architect's elevation were very difficult to maintain in embroidery. Several attempts at hand and machine embroidery were thwarted by kinks and bends where none should be. Finally the effect was achieved using couching - lines of cotton perle across the surface of the printed fabric with tiny stitches holding them down.

The original plan for the Education Panel had been more in the style of the Community Spirit panel with crowds of students spilling from the buildings. These pieces were embroidered for the earlier design by Mary Mellor and Ann Barker. So far they have not been used but are beautiful, and ready when someone else takes up the challenge to create more panels.

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