The photographs above are courtesy of Drew Gardner
The Rochford District Heritage Tapestry has been created through a community project that was funded by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, together with additional financial, premises and other support from the Elim Estuary Church Group.
The main aim of the community project was to encourage groups and individuals from all 14 parishes within Rochford District to take part in creating hand-crafted ‘tapestry’ panels, depicting significant events and local history over the last 1,000 years. Each parish has its own story to tell and we made a conscious effort to bring out some aspect of each parish’s story at various points across the 10 Tapestry panels. Of course, it would be impossible to include every key aspect from all the parishes.
This has been a vast undertaking and the finished work will measure over 10 metres long, in 10 separate panels. The scenes have been designed by local artists and historians, then interpreted by over 60 adults using a wide range of techniques, including embroidery, appliqué, knitting and felting. 80 local school children have also been involved in some of the felt work. So in the true sense of the word, this is not a 'Tapestry'. However, it was the best word that we could find to quickly convey what we were doing.
The 10 panels form a timeline that covers over 1,000 years of local history and change. Can you find the things hidden on each panel:
The Tapestry was planned to coincide with Rochford District Council’s Discover 2020 Festival. However, the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing impacted that plan. Work continued at home and some people also turned their skills to making NHS scrubs, washing bags, masks, etc and also NHS knitted rosettes. Once we hold the delayed Tapestry exhibition, the Tapestry will “go on tour” around the District, either complete or as individual panels. We plan to find a home within the District where the whole Tapestry will be permanently on display.
Our huge thanks go to everyone who has been involved in this mammoth venture for your time, skills, commitment, adaptability and for the fun we’ve had together. Also for your perseverance during lockdown.
Those behind the Tapestry hope you enjoy viewing it and finding out about the District’s rich history: people and places, events and activities. We hope that the Tapestry will be an important learning and cultural resource for future generations who live here, visit the district or view the Tapestry online.