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In 1963 in Rhodesia, the WI completed their Historical Tapestry

Story Telling as it then was ...

They do say, don't they, that history depends on who writes it. Churchill argued he'd better write his own history of WW2 just to make sure we all got it straight.

Well, the excitement and publicity surrounding The Prestonpans Tapestry has unearthed a fascinating piece of Rhodesian history recounted as the WI in Rhodesia saw it in 1963 - which had been created by embroiderers following a suggestion in 1946 by the wife of Lord Tait the then Governor of Southern Rhodesia. The Bayeux Tapestry was once again her inspiration. It was stitched with Swiss embroidery cotton on Swiss linen but unlike Bayeux the panels are not stitched together - each was separately framed with an overall length of 100 feet. The 42 panels created required some 5 million stitches.

Everyone one of the panels holds great significance from a colonial perspective. Of enduring interest perhaps are 'Dr Livingston Sees the Falls' and 'Scouting in the Matopos with Col. Baden-Powell' in 1896, before his famous book Scouting for Boys published in 1908.

Our correspondent is unaware of its present whereabouts but until President Mugabe's majority government was installed by the withdrawing colonial power, it hung in the Members' Dining Room of the Rhodesian Parliament, having been presented to the Speaker in 1963. Any further news would be most welcome.

Copies of the Guidebook are available on the internet: Rhodesian Tapestry - a History in Needlework Text by Oliver Ransford published by Books of Rhodesia Publishing Co (PVT) Ltd., PO Boz 1994, Bulawayo: 1971.

Published Date: August 4th 2010

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