Wartime 'parcels of comfort' on show

September 04 2017

THE POPULAR and moving exhibition Parcels of Comfort will visit libraries in Fishponds and Hillfields from this month.

THE POPULAR and moving exhibition Parcels of Comfort will visit libraries in Fishponds and Hillfields from this month.

The exhibition, which has previously been shown at Bristol Cathedral, was inspired by the delivery of letters and parcels to front line troops during the First World War and features hand-crafted items and memorabilia from that era.

The exhibition is the brainchild of artist Sally Stanley who was inspired by the fact the British Army considered the delivery of letters and parcels to the Front as important as delivering rations and ammunition.

Sally along with artists Paula New, Jane Marie-Mahy, Lucy Saunders and Jane Kay used mixed media to replicate some of the parcels, letters and goods which had been sent to the Front. 

One of the contributors, Jane Kay, from Stapleton, drew on her hobby as a knitter to make socks, arm warmers, mittens, fingerless gloves and balaclavas, all in khaki green, to show the types of clothing which were sent with love and received with gratitude.

All of the artists have an interest in social history as well as a love of textiles.

The names on the embroidered parcels are those of real soldiers who have featured in Bristol Cathedral's First World War remembrance project called We Have Our Lives and in the book Letters From The Trenches by local author Jacqueline Wadsworth.

As the war dragged on, army food got more sparse and bland and the regulation clothing was woefully inadequate for the cold and mud of the trenches. 

Soldiers' morale was boosted considerably by the efforts of mothers, sisters, sweethearts and women’s groups who sent warm clothes, food, sweets, tobacco and letters to the soldiers. 

Parcels of Comfort will be on display in Fishponds Library from Tuesday September 5-19 and then at Hillfields Family Hub and Library from September 23-October 11. 

More information can be found at http://www.sallystanley.co.uk/parcelsofcomfort.aspx