The Greenwich Golden Jubilee Embroidery

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The Golden Jubilee Embroidery is complementary to the Greenwich Millennium Embroideries.  It was never intended to be the ninth panel.  This mini-website tells you all about it.


The Story of the Golden Jubilee Embroidery

The late Beverley Burford, Manager of the Greenwich Heritage Centre thought that as the Millennium Embroideries were now finished and ready for display it would be a shame to break up the group of embroiderers, who had by then become great friends. She suggested that some of the team might like to continue to meet once a week to chat and work on another piece of embroidery.

She decided we could do another panel, and this time it would be to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and would mark the number of times that HM the Queen had visited the London Borough of Greenwich. The size and shape of the panel was decided upon - as the Millennium Embroideries were upright, portrait shape, that the Golden Jubilee panel should be landscape shape. The length of people's arms had to be taken into account, as, if the panel had been too deep, it would be difficult to sew the pieces of embroidery into the centre of it.

Then the colour of the background had to be decided upon. The Millennium Embroidery panels have a green background, and we wanted this one to be different. Some favoured blue, grey, or cream and others a neutral colour. Samples of suitable materials were obtained from John Lewis & Co. and the decision was made - it would be a pale mushroom background.

In the meantime, a list had been compiled of the many times that the Queen had visited the Borough since her succession to the throne in 1952. A 'brainstorming' meeting soon sorted out which dates were going to be commemorated, and what pictures would be used to record the event.

  • The top of the panel would be sewn in royal purple wool, on canvas, proclaiming the name of the work - HM Queen Elizabeth II, Golden Jubilee. (Later the dates 1952 - 2002 would be added.)
  • At the left side of the panel would be a shield with the Royal coat of arms.
  • On the right the coat of arms of Greenwich.
  • The centre section would commemorate the Queen's visits to the London Borough of Greenwich.

It was decided that, as on the Bayeux tapestry, there should be, along the lower part of the panel a fun strip, which would show street parties and other celebrations for the Coronation, Silver Jubilee and the Golden Jubilee.

This would have suitable entertainments of the times, a Punch and Judy show, a 'sing-song' around a piano and a bouncy castle. We also show the Silver Jubilee bus and the Golden Jubilee bus, which advertises John Lewis & Co. - they were so very helpful with the backing material and embroidery threads.

Soon people were choosing which pieces they wished to embroider, these ranged from the Coronation coach to the opening of the Millennium Dome. We had decided that each piece of embroidery should be no larger than an 8" diameter circle so that all would be of equal importance. Work began on the pieces and we met each week to discuss problems or ideas. The background cloth, with a calico backing had been stapled to a wooden frame and stood ready for the first pieces to be sewn upon it.

It seemed a long time before we had enough finished pieces of embroidery ready, but when they were spread out on a table, and we saw what we had produced then the project began to take shape.

The team who gave their time to do the embroidery, had an enjoyable time doing it, and we hope that when you see it you will enjoy it too, and smile to see the children in the street parties.

One little girl in particular, in her nurse’s uniform at the Coronation street party, adds a poignant note, for she is Beverley herself, who started it all.