THE CULROSS QUILT
A CANADIAN WORLD WAR I QUILT
06 March 2021
David March © 2019
STORY OF THE QUILT
The quilt was made by sixteen members of the Junior Workers of Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild Concession 10 & 12 Bruce Co. Culross, Ontario, Canada in 1918. Nothing more is known of its origins, nor its history until it surfaced in the UK in the 1990s.
Becca Robinson found the quilt among her mother's belongings when her mother died in the late 1990s but she had no recollection of the quilt being used, and had never seen it whilst her mother was alive. In June 2015, Becca contacted the Canadian Red Cross Quilt Research Group regarding the quilt.
To the best of Becca's knowledge, her family had no connections with Canada. Her parents were from a rural farming background, though her maternal grandparents ran a pub in Hampshire during World War II which she believes was frequented by both Canadian and American servicemen.
We made arrangements to visit Becca at her home in Croydon, Greater London to examine and document the quilt. Following these discussion, Becca offered to donate the quilt to the Research Group collection. During 2016, I researched the names on the quilt using Ancestry.com, contemporary newspaper records and ‘All Our Yesterdays’ a History of Culross Township 1854-1984. During July 2017, the quilt was exhibited at the National Needlework Archive, Newbury, Berkshire, UK together with other Research Group quilts.
The Queen Mary's Needlework Guild still exists under the title Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild more accurately reflecting the charitable work of the guild. In 2017 we were invited to exhibit the quilt at the annual Viewing Day held at St James’ Palace in London. We met the patron of the Guild, The Honourable Princess Alexandria when we had the opportunity to tell her the history of the quilt.
In April 2018, this quilt featured in the Hallmarks of Humanity quilt show at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, Southampton, ON. My wife gave a key-note speech at the opening of the quilt show and following the success of the quilt show, and impressed with the museum and particularly its its outreach work in the community, we felt it was appropriate that the quilt remain at the BCM&CC. Southampton is the nearest sizeable town to the Culross area and so the quilt has returned home on its hundredth anniversary.