Saturday, 31 July 2010

Arts for All - Grand Theatre Ceiling

Yesterday was the monthly coffee morning for those volunteers at the Tapestry who still keep in touch. If anyone is reading this who wants to join the meetings just pop down to the Tiled Hall at the Art Gallery/Library on the last Friday of each month at 11 am. The function starts with a drink and often extends to lunch as well.

The tiled hall was a hidden gem of the city while the Tapestry was being designed and stitched but would definitely have been chosen in 2010. The ceiling is magnificent, but photographs taken yesterday were too poor to post here.

Another ceiling worthy of mention is in the auditorium of the Grand Theatre which has recently had a major makeover. This was included on the Arts panel, hand stitched by Godfrey Harland.

The Grand Theatre has its own book, "Grand Memories" by Patricia Lennon and David Joy, published in 2006 which gives a lot of information about the history, performances, performers there and some beautiful photographs.

The first performance at the theatre was Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" on November 18th, 1878. In 1969 there was a plan to destroy the building and replace it with a 22 storey office block - fortunately the planning application was turned down, mainly because of its Grade II listing. Now, back to its former glory it's open for business again with the additional venue of the Assembly Rooms for smaller concerts and performances.

Links to other Millennium Embroideries

I've found another one in Hull, apparently there's open access to it in the Guildhall.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Elida Faberge

The final piece on the Textile and Industrial Heritage panel sponsored by Unilever is another rendition of Watson's Matchless Cleanser, this time with the lettering for Elida Faberge.

Joseph Watson's grandson, also Joseph, retired from business in 1917 and sold his interests to Lord Leverhulme but Watson's Matchless Cleanser was still produced with that name until 1933.

Lever's and all its subsidiaries became part of Unilever in 1930 but were not called that until fairly recently. In 1962 the Leeds works were known as Gibbs Pepsodent, then in 1965 as Gibbs Proprietaries. In 1971 they became Elida Gibbs and during the production of the Tapestry were known as Elida Faberge. No wonder that until the move from Whitehall Road in the 1980s they were still affectionately known as Soapy Joe's.

Leeds branch of Unilever is now based at Seacroft, I haven't managed to track down what is made there though it seems that it is Europe's largest aerosol factory and is set up for recycling.

This little chap was hand stitched by Evi Malm.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Pear's Soap

Soap producers in Britain seem to have been quite inventive with their advertising campaigns. First with free gifts for returned wrappers, then children's beauty competitions and who can forget the free plastic flowers in the 1950s and 1960s. Improved hygiene in the 1800s produced many new soap firms until the industry reached saturation point at the beginning of the twentieth century leading to many of the firms amalgamating, it's interesting though that many of the brand names remain.

Sir John Everett Millais was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood which had been founded in his home in September 1848. He often worked to commission, but Bubbles was painted for his own pleasure. He was captivated watching his grandson, Willie James, blowing bubbles and recreated this event on canvas.

Sir William Ingram bought the painting and the copyright thinking that it would make a marvellous presentation print for his Illustrated London News. He in turn was approached by Mr Barrett from A & F Pears with the proposed addition of the Pears soap bar and lettering to be used for an advertising campaign.

When the advert first came out a heated debate took place in a series of letters to the Times, with many believing Millais had painted the portrait specifically for the advert. Eventually many agreed that its use raised the standard of advertising.

In 1958 the firm introduced the Miss Pears promotion, inviting parents to send in shots of their daughters, the winners of the competition being photographed by eminent photographers for the advertising campaign. Ten years later an added bonus was introduced with the winner of the competition being painted by a well-known portrait painter.

A & F Pears is now part of the Unilever group, along with Joseph Watson, with a substantial branch of the company at Seacroft.

Joan Holah hand stitched this piece on printed fabric (40 hours)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Joseph Watson & Sons

When the images for the panels were being chosen by Kate she was given a small booklet on the history of 'Soapy Joe's' as the firm was affectionately called.

Apparently, as well as wrappers being returned to Watsons there was also a steady flow of correspondence from satisfied customers. I quote Mrs Far of Dudley, writing in the 1890s

'Sir, Your soap is like its name, entirely Matchless and a friend on wash days. It cured all my children's heads of ring worms and one had 28 on his face and neck.'

As the Tapestry grew, Kate found very little time to embroider for the project. This piece however was done by her, hand stitched on printed fabric.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Watson's Matchless Cleanser

Another prize lead product was Matchless Cleanser. In the nineteenth century Leeds was not only famed for its woollen cloth finishing but was also the greatest leather producer in Britain and one of the tanning factories belonged to Joseph Watson.

The tallow extracted during the process was sold as a by-product until Joseph's sons pursuaded him to use it themselves to make soap. They were so successful that they soon had to build a new factory on Whitehall Road, and it was there that they introduced 'Matchless Cleanser' a product that was advertised in a new and novel way. Everyone who sent in at least 30 wrappers was guaranteed a prize and at its height the advertising campaign employed 250 people in the prize wrapper department, sending out 750,000 prizes a year.

This piece was hand stitched by Betty Laycock (6 hours) on printed fabric.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sports for All - Bobby Whiteley, Bramley

The last of the Baines cards and I'm out of my comfort zone. Apparently Bramley, prior to 2nd June 1896, was a rugby union club, so W Bobby Whiteley (born 1871) may have played both Union and League for the club. As a Rugby Union player Bobby won a cap for England in 1896.

According to one of the websites dedicated to these cards Mr Baines offered the boys prizes if they had collected so many and took them back to the base in Bradford. What is not mentioned is whether the cards had to be handed in or were kept by the boys. It reminded me of the Sunday School sticker books in the 1950s. A good way to encourage regular attendance by the children but I think they were handed in for certificates, a shame that we couldn't keep them. Finally found a reference to them, presumably the collector stopped going to Sunday School before the book was finished. I know it's off the point but can anyone else remember them?

Ann Wheatley hand stitched this Baines card on printed fabric.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Sports for All - Jack White, Leeds City

Another of the Baines cards? This one of Jack (Jabez) White who played for Leeds City between 1908 and 1910. It seems there was some controversy with football and payments to team members and Leeds City was expelled from the Football League in 1919.

The same day as the players were sold off there was a meeting held with more than 1,000 of the current supporters leading to the formation of Leeds United Association Football Club with Elland Road as their home.

Audrey Pigeon hand stitched this piece.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sports for All - Baron Hawke

A revelation.

Just been down to the Leeds Museum to see the new exhibition of costume - Heroes and Heroines (well worth the visit) - and happened to stray into one of the other galleries. I've wondered what these images on the Tapestry are, and where they come from. There's a whole collection of them on display and apparently they come from Baines of Manningham, Bradford.

The forerunners of collector's items such as whacky plaques and football sticker albums, they were sold at the turn of the last century (1890s onward) in packs of six for boys to collect. In the flesh they look similar to beer mats, but slightly smaller.

The subject of this particular card is 7th Baron Hawke (1860 - 1938) who was a noted captain of Yorkshire County Cricket. He was born in Gainsborough Lincolnshire, so presumably the rules for playing for the County were changed after he played for the team.

Hawke was first appointed Yorkshire captain in 1883 and held the post for 28 seasons until 1910, he remained the President of the club until his death in 1938.

I suspect the card came from Robin Dove's collection. An appropriate subject given that Muttiah Muralitharan has just taken his 800th wicket in test cricket today.

The embroidery was hand stitched by Joan Holah.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Local Faces - Sue Reddington MBE

Sue Reddington is the director of Meanwood Valley Urban Farm in Leeds which provides an escape route for inner-city children where they can experience rural life and develop an awareness and concern for their environment. She has worked for the organisation for more than twenty years and in the year 2000 was awarded an MBE for her work there.

She was hand embroidered by Val Gomersall (26 hours)
Above is the Meanwood Valley Urban Farm sign from the Environment Panel, forgotten in yesterday's post. This was hand stitched by Valerie Horner (5 hours)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Environment - Meanwood Valley Farm

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm was officially opened in 1980. From humble beginnings, operating from two old caravans with bed frames providing fencing, it has steadily grown to become a major centre for community and environmental work.

The farm is open to the public, with a cafe (closed on Mondays), and it also provides many other amenities to the community including holiday play schemes, development programmes for disabled people, and Re-Connect, an alternative for senior school children who have difficulty in main stream education.

There was a lot of photoshopping to get the pig house and animals into the photograph. The background was then printed onto fabric and machine stitched by Betty Bertrand. The animals were printed separately, hand stitched by Valerie Horner (12 hours) and then applied to the background. The large sheep looks a bit odd on the image above, with no front legs, these were omitted in the embroidery to prevent too much bulk behind the lamb when the animals were stitched to the background.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Community Spirit - Skippco

Skippco is another Charity, this one based entirely in Leeds. They have been working with groups in the community since 1988, devising arts activities to meet the needs of each specific audience.

I believe they're always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you have any spare time.........

The embroidery was hand stitched by Val Gomersall.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Other Millennium Embroideries

Oh dear, increasingly a list of projects other than Millennium Embroideries but all very interesting.

I've often wondered what happened to the Miner's Banners, now that most of the mines have closed in the North of England and by chance found this link.

It's good to see so many are being conserved and on display

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Community Spirit - Youth at Risk

The logo was hand stitched by Joyce Maynard (5 hours)
The two boys above were hand stitched and appliqued by Hilary Thurlow and the group below were hand stitched on printed fabric by Myra Turner (13 hours).

Youth at Risk is another community programme to help young people, quoting from their website

Youth at Risk is a charity dedicated to young people whose reality has become
crime, exclusion from school, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse and
other self-harm. We support them.We encourage them to choose to get back
on track and give up the habits which are holding them back.

Beyond hope’, ‘no future’ – these are phrases we don’t entertain. We believe,
passionately, that our approach, which is sometimes challenging, will prevent
them from exclusion from school, being benefit-dependent, imprisonment,
alcohol/drug abuse and suicide. There are no “ready-made” solutions. Each
and every young person who comes to us is different. We deal with them
individually. Some are already hardened, others are on their way to being

We respect them. We help them find out what makes them tick, and why they ‘tick’
the way they do.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Community Spirit - Latch

Latch was started in 1989 and still has the same objectives to rehabilitate houses in Leeds and thus provide homes for young people (16-25) with housing needs. The young people being housed are involved in all aspects of renovating the buildings and given support to maintain their independence after the building is complete.

I've just found reference to one of their properties on a history of Leeds website.

Vivienne Brown embroidered the house and said this of the Tapestry project

"As a workshop leader and occasional volunteer stitcher, it has given me great pleasure to be involved in this project.
Initially I was inspired by Kate's visionary ideas and ideals, and then amazed by her qualities of leadership which resulted in the project gathering momentum, developing, and progressing over the many months.
Many of my students became involved and I helped whenever I could. Always I was impressed by the enthusiasm and friendliness of the helpers.
These stunning panels, which are dedicated to the City of Leeds, also celebrate those who have helped in their making, and symbolise their creativity, their energy and their sustained stamina!"

Jackie Moore hand stitched the logo on printed fabric.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Community Spirit - Audrey Pigeon

A very satisfying conversation yesterday revealed the relationship between these two. Above is Nicholas, holding an orange at the Christingle Service and making an appearance on the Faith Panel. Below is his grandmother Audrey Pigeon, one of the volunteers at the Tapestry.

Sadly, Audrey died before the first 15 panels were put on display at Harewood, but her family were there to see the work, and to make sure her name was in the database. I presume Nicholas has left school now? A very funny lady who kept us in stitches (sorry) at the workshops and was very tolerant of the fads and fashions of 'the youth of today'.
Joan Holah embroidered Audrey on printed fabric and Audrey Gabbitas (nee Pigeon - no relation) embroidered Nicholas.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Links to other Millennium Embroideries

Not exactly a Millennium Embroidery, this panel was presented to Harrogate District Hospital by the Harrogate Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild on 26th November 1992.

A friend spotted it while she was visiting the hospital and thanks to Hazel from the Guild for supplying the photograph. I think its a collage of buildings in Harrogate, mainly in petit point or cross stitch. Hopefully one of the Guild members may be able to supply details of why the piece was made and the techniques used?

Meanwhile, enjoy

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sports for All - Leeds Golf Club

This is the clubhouse of Leeds Golf Club, built in 1909, though presumably enlarged over the years since then.

The men who formed the club were the first to wield a golf club in Leeds, originally playing on Soldiers Field before renting the horse pastures, now the top nine of the present course.

The famous golf architect, Doctor Alistair MacKenzie was a member between 1900 and 1910 and he gave advice on the placing of bunkers and the layout of the course. There's a website devoted to the courses designed by him and even though this course is not mentioned it appears to have been the first he had a hand in.

Another first for the club seems to be that they gave the first professional golf trophy, The Leeds Cup.

The piece was machine embroidered on printed fabric by Barbara Walker (5 hours).

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sports for All - Moortown Golf Club

The founder of the club was Frederick Lawson Brown. It was officially incorporated as a limited company on 12 January 1909. Dr MacKenzie laid out and completed the 18 hole course in 1910 and it was officially opened that year by James Braid and Harry Varden, the present club house was opened three years later.
The international recognition of Moortown as a major championship venue has brought many visitors and notable tournaments to the course. The most prestigious event was staging the Ryder Cup in 1929, the first time for England and its first win (George Duncan was captain). Memorabilia pertaining to the match hangs in the clubhouse and attracts much interest. The ladies section plays for the Ryder Cup each year - a cup donated to the Ladies of the Club by Sam Ryder for all their help and support during the 1929 event.

Hand stitched on printed fabric by Betty Bertrand, a member of the club.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Faith in the City - The Silvermans

Even more of the Silverman family were included on the Faith Panel. Quite often there were not enough photographs of people for the crowd scenes on the panels and the volunteers would be asked to root through their photographs for suitable images.

A lot of the archive material has been put in a 'safe place' and I can't find the story Renee wrote about this particular photograph, but if she's reading this maybe a repeat can be written? Meanwhile I'll keep looking....

Renee Silverman embroidered these pieces of herself and her Mum and Dad.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Community Spirit - Mother and child

Beverley wasn't the only member of the Silverman family to become involved with the Tapestry. Her mother, Renee, originally came on board to help with the administration and office duties (and is still the minutes secretary for the Board of Trustees). Gradually she began to embroiderer too, with stunning results.

Renee spent hours hand stitching her daughter-in-law and grandson for the Community Spirit panel. She ironed it when finished and the face turned into a shrivelled prune. Fortunately by this time she had become one of the volunteers who printed the images onto fabric so, with a newly printed face, longer hair and higher collar to hide the applique, Hilary and Jonathan were ready to join the audience watching the procession.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Arts for All - Leeds Pianoforte Competition

This piece, also by Beverley Silverman, represents the International Pianoforte Competition on the Arts for All panel. The Competition is held every three years with the next in 2012.

The technique used is painting on silk and then stitching by hand. Beverley was one of the small band who worked on the Health Panel with Paddy Killer, learned something of her skills and developed her own style in the embroidery above.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Local Faces - Dame Fanny Waterman

Dame Fanny Waterman was mentioned briefly in the 3rd March 2010 entry but she stars today as the guest on Desert Island Discs this week. Repeated next Friday, you will also have a week on iPlayer after that to catch up with her favourites and her personal story.

Dame Fanny Waterman, DBE (born 22 March 1920) is a piano teacher, and the founder, Chairman and Artistic Director of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.

Waterman was born in Leeds; her father, Myer Waterman, a Russian Jew, had emigrated to England to work as a jeweller. She began to study with Tobias Matthay when she was 17; she started giving public performances, and in 1941 opened the concert season in Leeds with the Leeds Symphony Society. She won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and studied under Cyril Smith. In 1944, she married Dr. Geoffrey de Keyser and in 1950, with the arrival of her first child, gave up her concert career and concentrated on teaching. By the early 1960s, Waterman felt that young British pianists needed a goal to give them a competitive edge with foreign pianists.

In 1961, with the help of her friend Marion Thorpe (then Countess of Harewood) she jointly founded the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition. She is artistic director of the competition and, since 1981, chairman of the competition jury. Her contribution to the city of Leeds was recognised in April 2006, when she was given the Freedom of the City of Leeds.

Waterman was Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Piano Performance at Leeds College of Music until 2006.

The above is courtesy of Wikki.

Beverley Silverman embroidered and hand painted this piece using the techniques of raised work and applique.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Enterprise - Two Ladies Eating

It's Leeds Food Festival this weekend with events going on all around the city. Apparently this is the second year for the event, I wonder if I was away last year or just missed it. Anyway, there are lots of marquees up in Roundhay Park so tomorrow it will be a toss up between the event and Wimbledon Men's Final or both.

There aren't many references to food on the Tapestry so Freda Copley's wonderful piece of raised work is illustrated today. Freda wrote a piece for the book which is quoted here

"I did 20 hours a week for four years, starting at 5pm and often working until 10pm. Sometimes I would look up and discover it was two in the morning, so I would take it, on its frame, to bed with me and work on it a little bit more. I was so much in love with it! I would become totally absorbed. Sometimes I would go all day Saturday and Sunday and just stitch. I would find myself getting more and more desparate to complete a piece and my fingers would fly faster and faster...."
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