The Thames Heritage Tapestry

A major schools project to capture the history of the River Thames

The River Thames Society is pleased to have supported the Thames Heritage Tapestry, a project of the Thames Heritage Trust. This exciting and innovative project enabled schools to create tapestries showing how the Thames has shaped and influenced its riverside landscapes and communities. Working with the Millennium Tapestry Company, the Trust secured £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund so that schools  – spread from the source right down to the estuary – could create a unique record of Thames history, architecture, industry, nature, sport and recreation. The tapestry was one of the cultural components of the London Olympics.

Each participating school completed a one square metre panel depicting aspects of the Thames in their area. Pupils were supplied with carpet canvas and all the yarns, plus materials and implements needed to complete their panel, and trainer sessions provided the practical know-how needed for the project. It is estimated that more than 6,400 metres of yarn will be used, equivalent to the entire length of the Thames from source to the sea and back again!

This imaginative project is mobilised and inspired thousands of children and their families to tell the ever-flowing tale that links thousands of communities alongside the River Thames.

Another aim of the project was to engage an estimated 50,000 children to research and understand the impact of the river on life, work and the environment as well as getting involved in all stages of the artwork needed to complete the work.

Lizzie Owen, chief  Executive of the Millennium Tapestry Company and project manager, has extensive experience of running large-scale art projects in schools.

The completed one metre panels wiere mounted on wooden frames and displayed in their respective schools, before the whole tapestry was assembled at a number of venues, concluding in London to coincide with the Olympics. The full joined-up tapestry measures 240 metres in length, making it more than three  times the length of the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry.

Click here to see more about theThames Tapestry.

Heritage Tapestry