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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Annie Penrith - 1939 - Chester-le-Street Durham

Here is a quilt that I bought recently (an early Xmas present). It has a label which states that it was made by Annie Penrith of Chester-le-Street for Mrs Whaley of Lanchester in 1939, and that the quilt cost £10.

The size of the quilt is 78 x 92 inches. The right side is of sage green taffeta and the reverse is a lime green cotton sateen. Taffeta is a smooth, crisp plain woven fabric that is made from silk or synthetic fibres. It has a nice shine which is why it was used for quilting.

The design is neatly drawn and the quilting is good.

The front of the quilt in the sage green taffeta. This is a stamped quilt although there are no markings to be seen. There is a large central rose, surrounded by large scrolls and leaves. Crosshatching separates the border of hammocks.

Central area with the four large scrolls.

There is a corner area of scrolls and leaves that is nicely arranged. The edge is neatly handsewn.

The lime green cotton sateen reverse. You can see that this side has some sun fading along the folds but the quilt appears unused.

Central area of the reverse.

Here are the labels - a paper one which states the size and "Green Taffeta" and a hand written one (in Pigma pen, so recent?) with the quilter's and owner's names.

Lilian Hedley wrote - I haven't heard of her, £10 was a lot for a quilt at that time and I do query that amount. A number of years ago I discovered that a lady who had given a quilt to Beamish was still alive ( see page 101 of Quits and Coverlets) .....she told me both herself and her sister were engaged to be married but the war broke out and the men were called up, they decided to bring the weddings forward and asked Mary Potts if she would make a quilt for each of them. They cost 3 guineas (£3.3s) and she paid a shilling a week until paid for. She went to the Co-op to pick the fabric, but I have no idea if it was "all in" or the fabric separate, it didn't occur to me to ask. Even if the fabric was separate, it wouldn't come to £10, that was a fortune then."

And later Lilian also wrote - "By the way, I have an old newspaper piece about Florence Fletcher around 1960 who quoted quilts as being made for about £20, the wages in 1960 were vastly different from 1939, I still cannot get my head around that £10 quilt."


  1. So good to see this and the Red quilt posts and to read Lilian's thoughts on them. They are both such interesting quilts and it's great that you are sharing their stories with us.

  2. What an interesting design this quilt has! I have never seen a North Country/Durham quilt before with a center medallion formed like a rectangle - in general the patterns are arranged in a circle. Beautiful! And again a very interesting story behind this quilt. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Hi Pippa, I haven't visited for a while so have lots of reading to the colour of this one, very serene, it must have been beautiful when new, although it still is!

    Best Wishes
    Kay in SCotland

  4. What a stunning quilt with a compelling history. I wonder if the maker has any living relatives? The colour looks so soft.

    P.S. Thanks for following me. I'll be happy to visit your blog often!

  5. Lovely to read up about these wholecloth quilts. Lilian has such wonderful knowledge of them to impart