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Tuesday 2nd June – 18th meeting of 2015

We met today as usual at Charing Cross. We had planned to go to the British Library to see the exhibition to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Some of us had seen it before but thought it would be good to view it again as it is such a monumental document.

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From Charing Cross we took the Northern Line to the very busy Euston station. We decided to have our coffee and chat here as there was such a choice of cafes. We had a nice rest and chat and it was good to get away from the strong wind that was blowing.

We then went through the bus station and into Euston Road and the short walk to St. Pancras and The British Library. This was a very pleasant walk with so many lovely old buildings along the way. St Pancras Parish church being one which is very large and has superb columns around it.

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At The British Library we went to the exhibition area. Entry into the main Magna Carta exhibition was £10 per person and as we had seen it before we decided to miss that part. On display was Magna Carta (An Embroidery). This is a new artwork by Cornelia Parker and replicates in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on Magna Carta as it appeared on 799th anniversary. The fabric was divided into 87 sections and sent around the country to be stitched by more than 200 people. The pieces were sewn together by the The Royal School of Needlework. It is almost 13 metres long. Most of the text has been stitched by prisoners under the supervision of Fine Cell Work. The detailed pictures, emblems and logos have been stitched by highly accomplished members of the Embroiderers’ Guild. The stitching in these pictures is remarkable. Minute stitches which I found amazing. How anyone can make such beautiful work astounds me! Also on the embroidery are dedicated words and phrases have been stitched by judges, QCs, barristers, advocates, clerics, entrepreneurs, composers, musicians, students and young people. The artwork is a combination of work from people whose voices speak to different aspects of the document and its legacy.

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After viewing the work we watched a small film showing how it was made and interviews with some of the stitchers and Cornelia Parker. This is an amazing work and I really enjoyed looking at it.

From here we went into an exhibition of Treasures of the British Library. This housed some amazing things. Writings dating back to 11th century, writings of Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, songs from The Beatles to name just a few. There were also beautiful old books with some lovely paintings in them.

From here we made our way back still fighting the wind to the Underground and our trains home after a very pleasant morning.

 

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