Stockport Museum is celebrating the 10th birthday of the Staircase Stitchers, a group of passionate and dedicated museum volunteers who have become masters of textiles.
The group have embroidered together for 10 years on a project within Staircase House, enhancing the historic environment of the Stockport’s oldest town house which is situated in the market place.
The development of the project, which included the creation of a replica 17th century embroidery, brought the group together in 2005 for a set three years.
But the group, currently with 30 active members, stayed together for an extra seven years.
Stockport Councillor Martin Candler, executive member for Supporting Places, has paid tribute to the team that he believes are forever progressing.
‘IMMENSELY PROUD’: Embroidery masters showing their work
“Stockport Museums Services are immensely proud of what this dedicated group of embroidered volunteers have achieved over the past 10 years,” he told MM.
“It is simply wonderful to see that there are currently no signs of their passion for needle craft wearing off.
“The Staircase Stitchers seem to be going from strength to strength and we look forward to collaborating on wonderful embroidery projects for Stockport Museums for many years to come.”
At its most active point, the group had 60 members who have all helped to produce a good collection of embroidered replica textiles.
One member, Jaqueline Lacey, has been a member of the group from the very beginning and says being part of such a group is a great way for people to socialise.
PATTERNISTAS: The Staircase Stitchers at it again
“Belonging to the Staircase Stitchers has certainly enriched my life and given me many friends,” she said.
The Staircase Stitchers stalwart has also spoken to MM about some of her experiences during her time with the group.
“As a member of the group of Staircase House Stitchers, I was given my own project which took me six years to finish,” she said.
“Under the expert teaching and guidance from Jane Dew, I learned about the history of 17th century embroidery and the importance of keeping to the authentic stitches, materials and patterns.
“We visited many museums and grand houses and saw collections of the 17th century textiles not always on display.”
Over 20 separate items have been created using authentic 17th century techniques.
With members ensuring each piece was carefully researched for historical accuracy of technique, materials, patterns and colour.
The group, led by expert embroidery specialist Jane Dew, have together sewn hundreds of thousands of stitches.
Mrs Dew has urged the people of Stockport to appreciate their efforts.
‘JUSTLY PROUD’: A dedication and enthusiasm close up
“Much of the success of the Staircase Stitchers is due to a terrific ‘can do’ attitude to be found in the Stockport area,” said Mrs Dew, who has worked for 16th and 17th century properties.
And for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.
“From the day in 2005 when the project was first discussed with Stockport Museums, everyone’s attitude has been positive, enthusiastic and informed.
“Everyone in Stockport should be justly proud of the skills, dedication and enthusiasm of the Staircase Stitchers and their wonderful work.
“It is a great reflection and celebration of the area’s heritage.”
Some of the items created include covers, pillow cases and bed sheets.
A vital element of the process has been to record each stitcher’s name and the completion date on every piece produced in order to show the life of Staircase House through the centuries.
Staircase House is now complete, leading the stitchers to move onto a new exciting project for Bramall Hall as part of the hall’s ongoing restoration.
In which they are set to produce a large-scale piece of embroidery to hand over the high table in the Great Hall.