Hastings Embroidery

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The Hastings Embroidery was commissioned by Group Captain Ralph Ward and made by the Royal School of Needlework in 1965 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings the following year.[1][2]

Intended to be a modern-day equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry, the embroidery consists of 27 panels, each 9 ft × 3 ft (2.7 m × 0.9 m), and shows 81 great events in British history during the 900 years from 1066 to 1966. It took 22 embroiderers 10 months to finish.

The Embroidery is worked in appliqué by hand, with the addition of couched threads and cords, tweed from Scotland, fabrics from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and feathers from London Zoo.[2]

The Hastings Embroidery was displayed in the white domed structure on the old Hastings Pier in 1966.

It was on public display in Hastings, firstly in the Town Hall and then on the pier in a dome-shaped building.

It is currently in storage, and apart from two panels on permanent display in the Town Hall, cannot be viewed, despite local protests. It has been said that to preserve the cloth and applique that special display facilities would have to be constructed, and that the cost would be prohibitive.

In March 2018 Hastings Borough Council announced that it would be "very happy for any organization to have it free of charge to display", provided they have the space and appropriate conditions for preservation.[3][2]

Between May and October 2019 all 27 panels of the Hastings Embroidery were displayed to the public in Rye, East Sussex, for the first time since it was locked up in storage[4]. The exhibition was accompanied by an immersive media installation by Tim Hopkins[5] and newly commissioned music piece entitled Stitched by Robert Thomas.[6]


  1. ^ Howard, Constance (1984). Twentieth-century embroidery in Great Britain, 1964–1977, Volume 2. p. 19.
  2. ^ a b c Sanderson, David (2018-03-08). "Free to a good home... the Hastings Embroidery, rival to Bayeux Tapestry, will be given away". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  3. ^ "The Latest News on the Hastings Embroideries". Stitching Idyllic by Ann Bernard.
  4. ^ "Hastings Embroidery goes on show in Rye". hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  5. ^ "The Tapestry Project". Tim Hopkins. Retrieved 26 June 2019.[self-published source]
  6. ^ "Profile". Robert Thomas. Retrieved 26 June 2019.[self-published source]