Quaker Tapestry Museum, Friends Meeting House Stramongate, Kendal, LA9 4BH – Visit Now
The Friends Meeting House in Kendal is the permanent home of the Quaker Tapestry, a monumental piece of popular textile art fifteen years in the making, memorialising the history of the Quaker movement from the 17th century to the present. This is a fascinating piece of social and political history, the work of over four 4000 men, women and children.
The story starts of course with George Fox, and several panels tell the story of this religious and intellectual pioneer, who emerged from the general disaster of the Civil War convinced that friendship and tolerance in religion were possible. Lesser-known events in Quaker history are depicted including their activities in Russia and the Crimean War, plus Canada and New Zealand and other global branches. You can learn about William Penn of Pennsylvania fame, plus the Quaker Merchants and the development of fair trade.
Later panels exhibit the 6000-plus Quakers who became conscientious objectors during the first world war. The controversy over their imprisonment led the army to accept conscientious objection and the principle that people might do non-combatant work in lieu of military service. The Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) panels continue this story, studying the organisation set up in 1914 to provide medical staff for hospital trains and ships. More recently the FAU has worked in Syria and China.
There are regular how-to crafting sessions for those interested in needlework, and embroidery kits are available from the shop. There is also a fully-featured restaurant and a peace garden. The Quaker Tapestry Museum thus makes an ideal day out for families with children interested in history and arts and crafts. It’s also worth noting that the venue is set up to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and to be a safe space for all, which some parents may find especially useful.