Hollytrees Cushion update

9 May 2022

By Megan Fowler, Visitor Information Assistant

In September 2021, we appealed for willing volunteers to help us revamp the window seat cushions for Hollytrees Museum. Meg from Visit Colchester / S&B Colchester, along with local stitchers Tamsin, Sophie, Liz, Jen and Helen put needle to canvas in November, and got to work on six custom made cushion covers. The group have been stitching away since then, and we wanted to share a few sneak peeks of their progress so far.

The designs feature local buildings and scenes across the town, and are being painstakingly stitched by hand using needlework tapestry techniques, normally seen on church kneelers. Three of them showcase key Colchester landmarks: the Town Hall and Jumbo, Hollytrees Museum and the iconic Colchester Castle.


Close up, colour photographs showing pictures of Hollytrees Museum and Colchester Castle being recreated in intricate stitching


Two of the cushions will feature people walking through Castle park. At the top of this post you can see one set in the Victorian/Edwardian period when the park was first opened to the public. The other has a modern day family, enjoying the same park grounds today. These designs include beautiful wisteria detailing, which grows around the Hollytrees building in early summer each year.

The final design is based on the poem ‘The Star’, which was written in Colchester in 1806 by children’s author Jane Taylor, and is better known today as ‘Twinkle Twinkle’. It features words from the rhyme written across Colchester’s modern day skyline at night.


Close up, colour photographs showing the Colchester skyline with the words 'Twinkle Twinkle little star how I wonder what you are?' being recreated in intricate stitching


Once finished, each decorative cushion will have taken upwards of 90 hours of stitching time! We’re hoping that they will be complete and installed at Hollytrees Museum in time for the summer. We cannot wait to see the finished pieces, which will be displayed in the Museum for many years to come.

We’ll update the blog once the cushions are complete, to let you know when they are ready to be enjoyed in person!


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