The centre of the mural is very busy. I imagine that it is a weekday afternoon and the ladies of the Women’s Institute are gathered in the Church Hall where they will enjoy each others company, catch up on the news, discuss topics of interest while all the time, keeping their hands busy and being productive. I do not see any signs of tea but it will happen at the right time.
The lady on the left wearing the brown hat is knitting. Moving to the right, the next lady is tatting. This was a popular activity around 1950. Everyone was doing it including myself and I still have a shuttle in my tool box. I do not think that I remember how to make the double knot stitches. The lady with the fly-away hair is making leather gloves which was not as popular as tatting but more useful. The next lady is making slippers or shoes which was something else many women knew how to do.
In the centre of the table is a smart pink blouse. This was made by Mary Quant who was a student at Goldsmiths College at the time. She went on to fame and fortune as the designer and founder of Mini-Skirts.
I do not know what the lady in the dark red top is working on. Maybe it is she who is making the shoes. The next lady appears to be doing some dressmaking and the last lady at the table is crocheting.
The two ladies on the right might be making curtains. Despite 60 years passing by, there are people who continue to use the skills featured in this mural. In fact, there has been a resurgence of many traditional skills. I am thinking of hedge laying. Churches and historical buildings have needed repairs and restoration and the old skills and trades have been resurrected because they have been needed. The richness of talent out there is wonderful. The skills are also being used in new and innovative ways.
The figures on the right hand side of the mural add more skills that were usual in country life. The little girl, and my younger sister, has her hair in bunches which was fashionable for that time. She is operating a marionette. The lady in the front is making lace. I find that the maid to be unusual for that time but maybe she is not a maid.
The next and final chapter will feature the foreground. The children and the pets can be seen in more detail as they are smaller and easier to photograph.