Ernest Brandrick, Altar screen and cloth, Stafford

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Date:October 1952

Description:Mr Ernest Brandrick, of 47 New Street, Stafford, is pictured with the altar screen and cloth, which he embroidered in his spare time.

Ernest was a seaman at the age of 16, and during his shipboard leisure time he developed a hobby which was needlework. He found it soothing and satisfying and it took his mind of the Luftwaffe and enemy submarines during his war-time years on the Queen Elizabeth, which was converted into a troopship. In 1946, at the age of 26, Ernest was invalided out of the Merchant Navy suffering from rheumatism. He was unable to work for nearly two years. A specialist told him if he could continue to use his hands he would never be out of work. So when he was able to take a sitting down job that did not demand too much from his rheumatism stricken legs, he continued with his needlework which helped to keep his fingers supple.

Ernest made a peacock pattered tablecloth for a girl who worked at the English Electric Company Ltd., in Stafford, where he was attached to the drawing office. He simultaneously embroidered an altar screen and altar cloth for an overseas mission. The altar screen and cloth was dedicated at the evening service at Christ Church, Stafford, on Sunday 11 October. Soon after the set left England for a leper colony at Ho, in the Gold Coast, West Africa, where it would be used occasionally when a number of lepers had been pronounced cured and then a service was held. He took the altar set to work to show colleagues who wanted to see it. The figure of Christ on the centre of the screen’s three panels was done in four shades of yellow, two of blue and red, three of brown and small pieces of other colours. The set took three months to make. He also made a framed picture of the Nativity, which took 7000 stitches, it was placed on the children’s altar at St. Chad’s Church on the following Sunday. Another of Ernest’s embroidered pictures “There is no night” was due to go on show at St. Patrick’s Church and he was asked for some of his work for St. Mary’s Church.

Ernest had a brother who was in the Royal Navy whose hobby was knitting.

This photograph was published in the Staffordshire Newsletter on Saturday 18 October 1952. Reproduced by Kind permission of the Staffordshire Newsletter who retain copyright.

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Creators: Staffordshire Newsletter - Creator

Donor ref:D4527-B8-NN-1070 (201/45577)

Source: Staffordshire County Record Office

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