The Cheetham Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story, in pictures, of the events leading up to and including the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066. It is about 20” tall and 231’ long (about the length of 3 swimming pools. It is the longest piece of embroidery in the world.
It was the idea of Elizabeth Wardle to make the replica Bayeux Tapestry, now on display in Reading Museum. She was a skilled embroiderer and a member of the Leek Embroidery Society in Staffordshire. The aim of the project was to make a full-sized and accurate replica of the Bayeux Tapestry "so that England should have a copy of its own". Thirty-five women members of the Leek Embroidery Society worked under Elizabeth Wardle’s direction. This ambitious project was completed in just over a year. As well as members from Leek, women from Derbyshire, Birmingham, Macclesfield and London took part. Each embroiderer stitched her name beneath her completed panel.
The Cheetham Version
Cheetham Hill has a 200 year history of inward migration with currently around 40 language communities comprising its community. Cheetham’s very own Elizabeth Wardle could help representatives of each community depict their journey to Cheetham Hill.
Wouldn’t it be great to visit Bayeux and Reading, understand a bit more about British history as well as the lives of the people that made the tapestries. The craftspeople would learn the skills that were used then but develop their own 21st Century skills.
Every step of the way could be documented with the idea of producing a film that would be worthy of any BBC documentary. In the current climate of divisions and changing attitudes towards diversity, a project of this type could take the people of Cheetham Hill away from the negativity and encourage a celebration of the rich ‘tapestry’ that is the community.