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Westminster Exhibition Interrupted by Tragic Incidents

Best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agly!

The Exhibition arrived at Westminster Hall as planned at 8am on Monday March 20th, driven south after its return from Iceland by Arran Johnston. The Crown Court Church in Covent Garden, who are the Stitcher Hosts led by Church Secretary Sheila Haddon, had a team of 7 including Philip Rajcher their Minister on hand to unload and install the exhibition. It was all done with time for coffee relaxation after two hours flat.

At noon the Yeoman Usher of the Palace of Westminster gathered a host of the Hall's Visitor and Support Services staff together for their Briefing by Arran Johnston and by 1pm visitors were already arriving.

Little did we all realise that just two days later the tragic incidents would occur immediately outside the Hall, firstly on Westminster Bridge and then at the gated access to New Palace Yard. The tapestry's curators for the afternoon were locked in along with some 300 and more MPs and staffs for up to 4 hours awaiting confirmed news. It was one of life's extraordinary circumstances that this gave ample opportunity for many of those thus stranded to visit the exhibition and pose their many questions. Jenny Bruce who had led the Global Tour had left just earlier and safely with visiting Icelandic embroiderer Bryndis, from the Global Tour's last port of call in February.

The tapestry can be seen far right at rear of photograph from the Daily Telegraph

The Metropolitan Police and Parliament's own Officers resolved to keep the Hall closed until Friday and then re-closed over the weekend This had the unfortunate consequence that the planned Formal Opening in the Presence of the invited High Commissioners and Ambassadors on Thursday night, March 23rd, had perforce to be cancelled.

However, the fact that the Hall was open on Friday with access via Portcullis House rather than the regular Cromwell Green Entrance, meant the international visit by the stitchers from Gothenburg and Veere in The Netherlands went ahead followed by lunch at the Reform Club.

The exhibition formally re-opened on Monday March 27th after one of the most eventful moments in its life thus far. It has curator volunteers throughout its remaining 5 weeks of display including several who are able to travel down from Scotland often staying with relatives, to support the Crown Court Church team.

There is every confidence it will continue to attract many visitors as it did during its initial two days both as they pass through the Hall on other business and arrive in planned visits from regional embroidery groups. And the curators will most certainly continue to enjoy meeting with, sharing their enthusiasms and exploring new possibilities with embroiderers ....

Particular VIP Guests from Gothenburg & Veere were invited to Westminster

The stitchers from Veere in The Netherlands and from Gothenburg in Sweden, who played such a significant role in the tapestry in Europe were special guests at The Reform Club during the Westminster Exhibition.

Published Date: March 31st 2017

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