The Guernsey Tapestry Introduction
Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, a property of the British Crown, located in the English Channel off the coast of France. The other Islands which make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey are: Alderney; Sark; Herm; Brecqhou and Jethou.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey Tapestry was the Islands' Millennium project and tells the story of 1000 years of local history in ten panels of embroidered canvas work. It is in the capital, St Peter Port, housed in a purpose built Gallery in the Dorey Centre, next to St James the Less, a 19th Century Church now used as a Concert and Assembly Hall.
The idea of a tapestry to celebrate the Millennium evolved from a suggestion at a public meeting in 1995. It was intended to be a lasting reminder of the Millennium celebrations and a project that could involve the whole community. It would also act as a learning vehicle for future generations of Islanders and visitors, encouraging people to look more deeply into the Islands' rich history.
Each Panel covers one century and illustrates the major events and important traditions that have shaped the Island and Islanders alike. They were worked by residents of the Bailiwick and each one bears the crest of the Parish that stitched it.
The Tapestry is on display in a purpose built gallery. The exhibition begins with an explanation of how the Tapestry was designed and created. The ten Panels are on display in a darkened room with each Panel in its own individually lit case. There is an audio guide explaining the history depicted in the Tapestry, this is included in the entrance fee and is available in English, French or German. Many of the stitchers now act as volunteers at the Guernsey Tapestry, and enjoy talking to visitors about their experiences making the Tapestry.
The Guernsey Tapestry is an independent museum, run by The Millennium Tapestry Trust and relies entirely on the income from entrance fees, sales and the support of the local community. The making of the Tapestry and the setting up of this Gallery were funded through the generosity of the local community, including many businesses, and that support is still needed to contribute to the preservation and availability of the Tapestries into the next Millennium.