Embroidery and Banner Group

The embroidery and banner group was set up in 2014 as a response to a need for urgent restoration of two historic Mother’s Union banners; one from All Saints itself, and the other from Christ Church. The Christ Church banner was important as it was one of the only items of church furnishing which had survived firstly the closure, and the subsequent fire which destroyed the building.
The Christ Church banner had been removed from the church upon closure, and stored in the organ at All Saints and, following the temporary closure and subsequent reordering of All Saints itself, was joined by the All Saints banner, where they languished for over twenty years. We certainly had to grope around in the organ to find them!
The first banner to be restored was the original All Saints banner dating from c 1930’s. Fortunately this was in a generally reasonable condition and required only cleaning with a mild solution of a natural and gentle soap (and water), and some sympathetic repairs to the couching stitch on the emblems.
unnamed (5) The All Saints Mothers Union banner after cleaning and repair

 The Christ Church banner though, presented much more complex problems! Dating from much earlier (from the style of stitching and the dyes used we estimate its date to be c1860 – 70) the blue background had perished beyond repair due to the corrosive nature of the blue dyes used at the time. However the beautiful embroidery of Our Lady with Child, the wording and the other decoration was salvageable.

mail (4)The Christ Church Mothers Union banner before restoration

The lettering and applique, including the depiction of Our Lady was carefully cut away from the background and the stitching carefully repaired using a variety of sympathetic threads. Once all these had been removed, what was left of the original background was measured and a paper pattern made to the same size and shape . This was then transferred to new blue fabric, as near as possible to the original style.

mail (2)During…

The applique work was then attached to the new backing using a variety of techniques including stitching and gluing. The final phase of restoration was to line and weight the banner, and re attach the braid that had been salvaged. New ribbon (the original had perished) was also attached, and once hung, new gold rope was added.

unnamed (4)And after restoration, and re-hung in church.

The banner was placed in church on display for the first time since Christ Church had closed in 1974.

Christ Church 1The High Altar in Christ Church c1972, showing the banner in its original position


The latest addition is a choir banner, for processional use and for when the choir sing outside the church building. It  depicts S. Cecilia, the Patron Saint of music and the name of the church.

IMG_1414The figure of S. Cecilia begins to take shape as of August 2015.


New altar frontals for the Lady Chapel and High Altar were created during summer 2016, and blessed in September.