Louisa Pesel's Travels

Recording with an embroiderers' eye

This is a Yorkshire World Collections object, one of 100 chosen by young people aged 16-24, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World.

This scrapbook was compiled by the embroiderer Louisa Frances Pesel. The album contains photographs, postcards, letters, news cuttings, notices and transcripts of lectures, and advertisements for publications and classes; all relating to Louisa's travels in Europe, India and Egypt.

Born in Bradford, Louisa Frances Pesel (1870-1947) was a teacher of embroidery. She studied design under the Arts & Crafts practitioner Lewis Foreman Day, who recommended her for the post of Designer at the Royal Hellenic School of Needlework and Laces in Athens, where she soon became its Director. After returning to England, Pesel worked with shell-shocked soldiers in Bradford, and was involved in establishing embroidery kits for POWs (Prisoners of War) during the Second World War.

Discussion Ideas:

  • During which war did Louisa work with shell-shocked soldiers?
  • Why do you think Louisa might have thought embroidery was good for shell-shocked soldiers?
  • What do you think the equivalent of shell-shock is today?
  • Do you think soldiers returning from conflict countries today like Afghanistan are offered activities to help them get over trauma? If so, what what do you think those might be?
  • Another resource mentions sewing and soldiers 
  • What makes people make journals?
  • What different kinds of journals do people make?
  • What makes travel journals useful?

Activity ideas:

  • Keep a journal for a week.  Record what you have done each day and keep/attach  any small papers which relate to the activities you have done  (bus tickets, receipts, leaflets, packaging). Add doodles and sketches as you go.
  • Look at the Google map below to see where Louisa was born in Mornington Villas in Manningham, Bradford in 1870. Carry out  research about the textile industry in Bradford during this period.

Document icon Learning article provided by: ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles | 
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