NHS Covid-19 quilts go on display at Dewsbury Minster in moving exhibition

Campaign group 999 Call for the NHS has brought its powerful and moving “Threads of Survival” exhibition to Dewsbury Minster.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 11:30 am

Produced during the lockdowns of the last two years by more than 140 people across the country, “Threads of Survival” continues the long tradition of recording important historical events in textiles and is not afraid of causing a little controversy.

Steven Carne, chairman of 999 Call for the NHS, said he is “really pleased” to see the quilts at Dewsbury Minster.

He said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from our first exhibitions and the collection is growing every month.

Lindsey Robertshaw and Ronalda Johnstone look at the Southport FTLOS Quilt.

“The full collection of over twenty pieces is on display and we think people will be blown away with the diverse themes and images.

“Our month at the British Textile Biennial resulted in tears, laughter and even arguments in front of the quilts - it’s not for the faint-hearted.”

“Threads of Survival” first started in August 2020. People were invited to sew their stories and experiences of pandemic life and to reflect on the importance of the NHS in our lives.

In the true tradition of community quilting, the exhibition features work from both professional artists and first time quilters.

The Southport FTLOS Quilt.

Led by national campaign organisation 999 Call for the NHS, the project now has more than 26 quilts made by groups from East Anglia, West and South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Somerset, County Durham, Surrey, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, with the exhibition coming to Dewsbury directly from The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

Chrissie Parker, coordinator of the Kirklees quilt, said: “I felt strongly that my local community needed a project like ‘Threads of Survival’ to help people find connections with one another.

“I know everyone who took part found it helpful in staying well during such a difficult and stressful time. And it was an opportunity to speak out.

“From a conversation on Zoom in lockdown one, who would have thought ‘Threads of Survival’ would be touring the country with 26 quilts involving people with and without internet connection through local groups?”

The exhibition was first launched from Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley where it was part of the prestigious British Textile Biennial in 2021, receiving more than 3,200 visitors.

Now, the quilts will be on display at Dewsbury Minster, Rishworth Road, until July 23, available to view Monday to Friday between 10am and 1.30pm.

For more information visit https://threadsofsurvival.org/touring-2022 or call the Minster office on 01924 457057.