Updated: Oct 19, 2020
In celebration of the upcoming millennium, in 1998 a group of local women decided to mark the occasion by creating an embroidery covering the 2000-year history of Greenwich. It includes the history of the borough from the time of the Celts and Romans up until the end of the 20th century covering eights panels. The community project includes the time periods of the Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Tudors and Victorians.
However, the embroidery panels have rarely been seen by the public, the first panels to go on display covered Romans to Victorians at the Woolwich Town Hall in 2000 for a short period of time while the last panel on the 20th century was being completed; which the public was invited to make suggestions for. The first time all eight panels went on display together was in 2004 temporarily at the Greenwich Heritage centre, where they are stored.
They are rarely seen due to their delicate nature.
To try and rectify this, the Friends of Greenwich Millennium Embroideries was set up to raise funds to buy protective cases for the panels in order to keep them in the climate-controlled storage. The hope was that this would enable them to be on display for longer at the Heritage centre. This cause backed by Greenwich Council, University of Greenwich and Blackheath Art Society managed to raise the funds for all eight cases by 2009.
Is right that history like this should be hidden away from the public?
How important are public projects like this for the remembrance of local history?
Holly O’Mahony: ‘Historical Embroideries Created by Greenwich Women to Go on Display’. The Weekender, 2018. https://www.weekender.co.uk/articles/arts/historical-embroideries-greenwich-women/.