Tomorrow is the 76th Anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy. It is commemorated in the Overlord Embroidery. As traveling is not possible at the moment, we can all visit the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, England via video footage. But first, some facts and background.
The Overlord was commissioned by Lord Dulverton in 1968, designed by Sandra Lawrence, a 22-year-old artist and stitched by 20 professional embroiderers at The Royal School of Needlework. This took 5 years. It was presented to the nation and was first shown in Londons Guild Hall. As stated by the commentator, the Embroidery was looking for a permanent home at the time. The following video takes us on a tour of its first showing.
A permanent home was found in the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. This city is full of naval interest from the Mary Rose from the 1600s up to HMS Nelson and HMS Warrior. Portsmouth was one of the main staging locations for the fleet that sailed overnight to Normandy. Ships, equipment, and supplies were sequestered all over southern England and Wales. It was a huge operation and every possible harbour was used. The tides, moonlight and the weather determined the date of the invasion. Diversionary information that the invasion would be in the area of Calais was leaked.
The following video gives a walking tour around the Overlord Embroidery. It is now housed in a facility that is temperature and humidity-controlled. The lighting is subdued to protect the fabrics so it is hard to see detail but this tour will give you an idea of its size. There are 34 panels that measure 272 feet in length. The full size painted design panels created by Sandra Lawrence are on display in a mail entry hall in The Pentagon.
The final video is a talk from Tracy Teasdale who knows the embroidery well and gives a detailed account of the making of the Overlord Embroidery. This is the most interesting and informative of the videos. There are lots of still photos online for you to find and view. To see photos of individual panels, go to
There are many historical embroideries around Britain and the world. They were all created with dedication. If you are planning to make one, first, I beg you, find and secure a location where it will be permanently displayed. The design should be totally special and a professional designer is advisable. Displaying it costs money and funding this should be considered during the planning stage.
We must all be aware of the Hastings Embroideries which lack a display location and have been in storage for decades. Initially, they were displayed on the pier with the ocean waves just below. Now, a few panels only displayed in Hastings Town Hall. After your labour of love and tribute, please avoid this happening to your historical embroidery.