A visit to the Embroidered Arts Exhibition in London in search of the lives of Holmer Green tambour beaders

A visit to the Embroidered Arts Exhibition in London in search of the lives of Holmer Green tambour beaders

by Susan Holmes

Find out what Susan Holmes discovered during a recent research trip to London and enjoy some amazing photographs of the delicate and intricate Chilterns craft of Tambour Beading.

Susan has been researching the lives of the tambour beading women of the Holmer Green area in the last century as part of the Woodlanders’ Lives and Landscapes project.

Tambour beading is the embroidery skill of sewing beads and sequins on to fine fabrics as panels in ornate patterns for high-end costumes produced by London fashion houses, worn by royalty, film, stage and TV stars, and brides. It was carried on around the village of Holmer Green, north of High Wycombe, during much of the last century – from 1912 to the 1970s – by local women working in workshops or in their own home. Some village women worked as agents, getting the work from London and passing it round the villages to their family members and neighbours to complete. Little detail was recorded on paper so we have to piece together clues from people’s memories.

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