First World War souvenir embroidery

During the First World War souvenir embroidery became incredibly popular, many people have in their own homes embroidered postcards from the First World War, either bought abroad and sent home to loved ones, or embroidered by the soldiers themselves.  Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums has a wonderful collection of various types of souvenir embroidery from the First World War……….

Postcards.

TWCMS_H21249.5d

TWCMS : H21249.5

TWCMS_2004_2262b

TWCMS : 2004.2262

TWCMS_1997_3859

TWCMS : 1997.3859

TWCMS_1997_3860

TWCMS ; 1997.3860

TWCMS_2001_208a

TWCMS : 2001.208

TWCMS_2001_3478a

TWCMS : 2001.3478

TWCMS_2001_3477a

TWCMS : 2001.3477

TWCMS_H21249.1-a

TWCMS : H21249.1

We have a real mix of embroidered postcards in our collections.  Some of these postcards would have been embroidered by local women in France and Belgium and sold to passing soldiers as a way to make some much needed money.  Others would have been embroidered by the soldiers themselves as a way to keep occupied whilst convalescing.  There is one which even sends greetings from Wallsend which must have been sent to the front as a reminder from home.  Most of these postcards do not have stamps or messages on the back of them, suggesting that some soldiers kept them for themselves as souvenirs of their time abroad.

Handkerchiefs.

TWCMS_H21246-a

TWCMS : H21246

TWCMS_H4707b

TWCMS : H4707

TWCMS_D384b

TWCMS : D384

TWCMS_D385-a

TWCMS : D385

TWCMS_H4706b

TWCMS : H4706

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWCMS_2008_2107c

TWCMS : 2008.2107

TWCMS_D386c

TWCMS : D386

All of these handkerchiefs are in very good condition, showing that they were clearly treasured by their owners.

Handkerchief Sachets.

TWCMS_D372b

TWCMS : D372

TWCMS_J9826b

TWCMS : J9826

TWCMS_J9827b

TWCMS : J9827

If, like me, you had never heard of handkerchief sachets before, they are a padded rectangle piece of material that would have folded into three and used to keep special handkerchiefs safe.  These three have been especially embroidered as souvenirs from the First World War.

And one more.

G4317

TWCMS : G4317

This lovely object doesn’t fit into any category and shows that individuals used their own imagination and creativity to celebrate and commemorate peace.  In case you can’t read the writing (and you’re not alone!), it says ‘France Albania Italy.  Souvenir of Egypt.  To my Dear Father and Mother 1919’.  The rectangle in the middle we think would have contained a picture of whoever made this lovely souvenir, a soldier probably.

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