New World Tapestry – Reunion 2017
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In 1980 a team of people started work on a tapestry panel. Over the next 20 years it would grow to eventually become a series of 24 panels covering English history from 1583 to 1642. By the end of the project over 250 people had worked on the panels across 9 centres in the West of England. All were volunteers and gave their time for free.
The project was self-funded, raising money and donations of materials from individuals and businesses. Logistically it was a massive project needing tight quality control and careful logistics to ensure wool was always available in the correct colour and grade. Some of the people worked on every panel over the 20 years, and others spent a year or two as part of a team working on a single or few panels.
As the tapestry has been in a museum archive since 2000, we interviewed Tom Mor (designer of the tapestry) who provided a guided talk to each panel to create a virtual tour. Our 'go-to' person who tracked people down and found us a location to meet and record was Renée Harvey (who was a key member of the tapestry team).
It was a wonderful experience for us to meet some of the people who had worked on the project and to listen to their stories. It was especially interesting to hear about the trip to America by members of the stitching team. They took one of the panels to the The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas and spoke of the challenges they faced in transporting it back and forth through customs.
Video of the Tapissers Reunion
Audio of the Tapissers Reunion
For some it was the first time that they had met. For others it was a chance to meet again after many years and share fond memories of the project. This audio includes wonderful stories of the Royal Family, some of the funny goings-on and cherished memories and conversations.
This, along with the Mayflower 400 Documentary project, is a great example of preserving history for future generations.