Hungerford Lodge’s Charity Officer, Nick Stephens recently met with Candice Bauval of the The Old Chapel Textile Centre to present the Centre with a cheque for £175 to enable them to buy additional conservation equipment. The Old Chapel Textile Centre is the home of the National Needlework Archive and the Country Wife mural.
The team at the Centre are working very hard raising money to keep the charity running and also for a unique project called The Country Wife, which their volunteers and specialist conservator have been working on for over nine years.
The Country Wife is an incredible piece not just due to its the size (4.5m x 5m) or the fact it takes at least 8 people to move it, but that it shows a detailed snippet of the lives and roles of typical country wives from the 1950s. It was designed by Constance Howard and was made by her, and some of her students at Goldsmiths College, for the Country Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951.
The piece has had an exciting journey from being on display at The Festival of Britain, having various owners, surviving water and light damage and finally being lovingly restored and preserved by their many lovely volunteers. It really needs to be seen to appreciate the size and the detail.
The Old Chapel Textile Centre is located on Greenham Business Park and provides a safe and friendly meeting place within the Newbury and local community where those that are interested in sewing, craft work and textiles can come together to share their skills, socialise and also to encourage the new (and younger) generations to be inspired by the art. This has meant that they have moved with the times by displaying very modern and artistic pieces from a variety of artists in different styles as well as taking to Facebook.
They recently launched their Knitted Newbury exhibition, with over 80 people coming to see the official unveiling by the Mayor and the Head of the Cloth-workers Guild. Many local people took part in Knitted Newbury, it was a real community project and they have done a fantastic job of recreating Newbury in wool.
Information about upcoming events can be found here.