Lockdown not a Show-stopper for Solihull’s Heritage Volunteers!

Despite the stringent social-distancing rules imposed earlier this year a WM Area society has been able to continue its valuable work for one of the region’s prestigious National Trust properties.

Since 2015 five members of the Arts Society Solihull Heritage Volunteer team have been working for Packwood House, a Grade 1-listed timber-framed Tudor manor house near Lapworth, Warwickshire, owned by the Trust since 1941.

“Our initial project was to provide upholstered cushions for a semicircular seat below the oriel window of the Great Hall, working in ‘canvas work’ to a pattern taken from a tapestry hanging in the dining room” says team leader Maureen Hill.   “We were also tasked with replicating a visitors’ book, originally made by Baron Ash’s Mother in 1906.  Because the original silk cover was fraying and very worn the Trust agreed to provide facsimiles of not only the original watercolours but also signatures contained in the book, and we then produced a new embroidered cover.  Two bench-seat cushions followed, for the Observation Room, illustrated with the graphics and colour palette used by the National Trust and images from the garden.”

The team’s latest task is to produce six loose covers for the chairs currently located in the corridor leading to the Great Hall.  The chairs have suffered from exposure to strong sunlight over the years which in turn has caused the wool fibres of the canvas work to disintegrate.   “The Trust have asked us to reproduce the original patterns and colours to indicate how the chairs would have looked when first upholstered, so the staff can occasionally remove one of our covers to expose the original for comparison.  It is this work that is continuing during the lockdown, giving us a huge opportunity to progress this project. 

The Trust are very appreciative of our work for Packwood House and this in turn has enabled our society to establish a good relationship with the management of the property and we are very grateful to have been offered the use of their facilities for future events.” 

You can view images of the Arts Society Solihull Heritage Volunteers’ project at Packwood House HERE.