Mount Felix Tapestry
History in Stitches
During World War One, the English town of Walton-on-Thames hosted 27,000 New Zealand soldiers at the No 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Mount Felix.
The first panel of the Mount Felix Tapestry, an artwork telling stories from the No 2 New Zealand Hospital at Mount Felix.
A century later, Walton-on-Thames residents worked together to create a tapestry celebrating their historic Kiwi connection.
Designed by Andrew Crummy, the Mount Felix Tapestry is a 44-panel tapestry telling stories of bravery, love and loss from the hospital.
One of the panels illustrates the incredible bravery displayed by Kaikōura-born nurse Edith "Poppy" Popplewell when the HMT Marquette was sunk by a German torpedo in 1915.
Marquette survivor, noted surgeon and future Christchurch City Councillor Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Acland also features in a panel. He was president of the hospital’s medical board from 1917.
Lance Corporal Alexander Grant from Invercargill first spotted his future wife, Walton-on-Thames resident Ruth Rosewell, over an “ivy clad wall” while recovering from a war wound at the hospital. Their romance is the subject of another of the tapestry’s panels.
The community tapestry project, organised by the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton, was launched in April 2015 and completed in April 2017. Over the 2 years a small army of stitchers from around the area, and some in New Zealand, created the 44 panels of the tapestry.
The Mount Felix Tapestry is currently touring New Zealand and will be displayed in Canterbury Museum’s Visitor Lounge from 6 October to 3 November.