An exhibition of 23 quilts, each 6ft x 6ft, made by the community of Silverdale, North Staffordshire, to commemorate Fanny Deakin (1883-1968), Silverdale's extraordinary spokeswoman and political activist.
Fanny Deakin was a founder member of the Labour Party in Silverdale, becoming the first woman councillor on the Wolstanton Urban District Council in 1921. A miners wife, she was a champion of local people and fought for better conditions, particularly for women and children. In 1947 a maternity hospital was named after her.
The quilts exhibited were only a selection of hundreds made by the people of Silverdale, which were eventually to be sewn together to make a single quilt. This single quilt would then be large enough to stretch around the village of Silverdale and raise funds for a play about Fanny Deakin.
The women of Silverdale with one of the quilts
In 1991 Joyce Holliday wrote "Go See Fanny Deakin!" in which Fanny Deakin appears as the heroine in a play centred on the mining community of Silverdale. It was subsequently broadcast by BBC local radio. Holliday also wrote "Silverdale People" which included a biography of Fanny Deakin. Staffordshire County Council holds a collection of Fanny Deakin's papers in its Newcastle Library.
The exhibition of Fanny Deakin quilts was accompanied by a series of open workshops at the Blackie in which a single quilt was to be made commemorating Bessie Braddock (1899-1970). Bessie Braddock served on Liverpool's Council between 1930 and 1961. In 1945 she was elected to Parliament where she represented Liverpool until 1969 as member for the Exchange constituency.