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  • Location: Winchester

A Single Thread

A Single Thread

Why a Booktrail?

1932:  A weaving story about the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral

  • ISBN: 978-0008153816
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

Travel Guide

Travel back in time to Winchester Cathedral BookTrail style

The author has taken a true story and woven it into a real tapestry of fascination and intrigue.

First of all – The canvas embroidery referred to in this book is what we now call needlepoint. The story of how this is done, how it came to be is a fascinating story of hard work, skill and dedication. There are stories behind each one of the designs and the women who created the kneeling cushions for prayer.

Louisa Pesel did exist in real life and the cushions and kneelers she and the other women make are indeed features of the cathedral today. You can still see and use them if you visit Winchester cathedral. After reading their story here, this is a must!

The author is keen to add that she hopes she had honoured the work of Louisa and the other ladies and their spirit. There is also a Louisa Peel Collection you can visit at the Leeds University Library.

There is currently  a group of Winchester Broderers who showed the author their work and explained the stiching techniques. They are currently repairing Louisa Peel’s cushions and kneelers so that they sparkle with their original vitality.



Booktrail Boarding Pass:  A Single Thread

Destination : Winchester Author/Guide: Tracy Chevalier  Departure Time: 1932

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