Embroiderers' Guild

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The Embroiderers' Guild is the UK's leading educational charity promoting embroidery.


The guild was formed in September 1906 at a meeting of sixteen ex-students of the Royal School of Art Needlework, under the name The Society of Certificated Embroideresses of the Royal School of Art Needlework. Miss Wade, head of the Royal School of Art Needlework was invited to be founder President, and Miss Scott who hosted the inaugural meeting and Beatrice Paulson Townsend, wife of W.G. Paulson Townsend, design master at the school, were invited to be vice-chairs.[1] They separated during World War I but reunited after the war and began teaching embroidery to shell shocked and disabled servicemen as a form of occupational therapy.

In 1920 Louisa Frances Persel (1870-1947) was appointed as the first President. By the time of World War II the Guild was well established and continued to promote the therapeutic value of embroidery.

From its centre in Aylesbury, and around the UK, the Guild works to celebrate and preserve embroidery's rich heritage, and to secure its living future as contemporary art and craft.

The Guild has 175 adult Branches and Young Embroiderers Groups in the UK, organised in 10 Regions, with a sundry range of educational and social programmes. Many of the branches and regions contribute to local activities, celebrations and educational programmes for the public benefit.

The Guild's activities and events for adults and children (from beginner onwards) providing opportunities to enjoy stitching and to discover the history and traditions of this ancient and international craft. Through outreach and distance learning programmes the Guild's education team brings the benefits of embroidery and its potential for creative and personal development to wide-ranging audiences.

The Guild's centre at Bucks County Museum is a registered museum and holds a nationally significant, global collection of embroideries from early times to the present day. From the Summer of 2018 there will be a permanent exhibition of items from the Embroiderers' Guild Collection available for viewing at Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP.

The initiative for 2017 was an exhibition of over 120 new pieces of work by Guild members and invited artists inspired by Page 17' of a book of their choice. Also launched in 2017 was an invitation to schools, colleges and academies to take part in creating the 'World's Longest Embroidery for Schools. Each participating school uses a one-metre length of fabric to tell their story. The Guild aims to involve 1000 schools from the UK and around the world.

In 2018 Guild members are creating exhibitions each of 100 hearts to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

For more information on these projects and other national, regional and local activities please visit the Guild's website.

The Guild partners with high footfall exhibition venues to bring original and unique works to the attention of the public. In recent years the Guild and its members have created and exhibited works inspired by the 2012 London Olympics (over 2000 postcard sized images of participating nations); in partnership with the British Library and Ruskin College, Oxford led the design and creation of a piece designed by Cornelia Parker commemorating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta; in partnership with the Landscape Institute/National Trust/English Heritage the Guild created over 40 exhibitions of work inspired by the life and times of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (2015/2016) and in 2016 the Guild was commissioned by the London representatives of HBO Television to create a piece 3.3 metres high and 5.5 metres long depicting the WhiteWalker from 'A Game of Thrones' - 'The Hardhome Embroidery'. This piece was exhibited at 10 venues throughout the UK. It will be on display in Glasgow Caledonian University from July 2018 for a period extending into 2019.

The Guild has two websites, one for adults and another for young and student embroiderers, two Facebook pages and eight Pinterest Boards - all are available to the general public.

The Guild attends the major public shows for embroidery and textile art... the Knitting & Stitching Shows held annually in Alexandra Palace (usually September), Harrogate (November), and Stitch & Hobbycraft Show at the NEC (March).

In conjunction with Search Press The Guild is a specialist retailer of books relating to embroidery, and books can be purchased on the Guild's web site. The Guild publishes the two leading embroidery magazines: "Embroidery" (bi-monthly, began publication in 1932) and "Stitch"(bi-monthly) - available on subscription or through WH Smith and Hobbycraft, Subscriptions for both magazines are available online.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.embroiderersguild.com

The Guild offers a range of distant learning courses. They cater for developing embroiderers, through to those who wish to explore new opportunities and to those who want to break the boundaries of textile art.

Each year the Guild awards Scholarships, hosts exceptionally talented graduates enabling them to attend the Knitting & Stitching Shows, and recognises teaching excellence via the award in the name and memory of Beryl Dean. Members are also challenged every year to create original pieces inspired by a theme or concept. For 2017/18 the challenge was 'Underfoot'.

In 2019 membership of the Guild will be extended worldwide supported by the introduction of an on-line branch available 24/7.


  1. ^ Berry, Chris (27 Mar 2013). "100 years of the Guild" (PDF). Embroiderers' Guild.

Updates extracted from the Annual Report (SORP FRS102) filed in May 2018

Further reading[edit]

  • Embroidery: the journal of the Embroiderers' Guild; Diamond Jubilee 1966; foreword, John L. Nevinson; p. 1

External links[edit]