Exhibition at Bristol Cathedral explores Great War parcels

August 26 2016

An exhibition of the work of textile artists celebrating the World War One postal service opens this month at Bristol Cathedra

Paroles from WW1

An exhibition of the work of textile artists celebrating the World War One  postal service opens this month at Bristol Cathedral. 

Sally Stanley, Paula New, Jane Marie-Mahy, Lucy Saunders and Jane Kay have used mixed media to recreate the atmosphere of the time, including knitting from original wartime patterns. In addition, GCSE Textile students from Cotham School have helped to represent some of the other items in the parcels. 

Sally Stanley said: “All the artists had an interest in social history and a love of textiles. They found inspiration in the ongoing commemorations of WW1 and developed a fascination for the contributions made by the women at home. Their exhibition includes textile parcels, appliqué , embroidery, printmaking and knitting. All the sewing and knitting has been done by hand to create an empathy with that era.”

The subject has been carefully researched using the names of soldiers featured in the Cathedral’s First World War remembrance project We Have Our Lives and in the book ”Letters From the Trenches” by local author Jacqueline Wadsworth. 

The British Army considered delivering letters and parcels to the Front as important as delivering rations and ammunition. The morale of the fighting men depended heavily on letters and parcels which provided an essential link between those at home and abroad.  Indeed, reassurance was needed from both sides that they were in each other’s thoughts.

As the war dragged on army food got more sparse and dreary and the regulation clothing was woefully inadequate for the cold and mud of the trenches. Mothers, sisters, sweethearts and women’s groups sent warm clothes, food, sweets and tobacco to the soldiers. 

Parcels of Comfort is on display at Bristol Cathedral from 9 September 2016 – 8 January .2017.