City bags bequest

Press Release: 11/02/2014

The Mayor and Mayoress with the bequest

A beautifully hand-stitched bag has been presented to the City of Winchester by the family of one of its mayors. Former mayor Commander Brian Hall, inspired by the Winchester Mayoral Crest, created a tapestry of castles and lions in gold and grey thread on a red background. The back of the bag is embroidered in a Bargello (or Florentine) pattern with his wife’s initials ‘A H’ stitched in gold.

Former mayor, Cllr Brian Hall, was a submariner and during his spare time aboard submarines learnt his needlecraft and produced many such bags for his family. As he and Alison were to be Mayor and Mayoress he designed and made this bag for her use in his mayoral year in 1988-89.

Cllr Hall died in 2008 and Alison Hall passed away in September 2013 and made a bequest of the bag to the City of Winchester. The bag will be accessioned into the Winchester Museums’ Collections to go on display periodically for future generations to treasure.

Visitors will have the chance to see the neat needlecraft for themselves as the bag will go on show during the Mayor’s Choice 2014 Exhibition in City Space at the Winchester Discovery Centre, Saturday 15 February to Sunday 16 March.

The current Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Ernie Jeffs, said:

There is nothing like this within the Museums’ collections. Not only is the bag a truly original gift to the City but it also gives some insight into Commander Hall’s previous life before he became Mayor. His keen eye for detail and his interpretation of the City Crest is most impressive. We are very grateful to Commander Hall’s family for this very special gift.

Cllr Therese Evans, previous Mayor of Winchester in 2001-2, said:

Alison Hall was delighted to attend mayoral functions with such a unique, handmade evening bag and was very proud of her husband’s handiwork. The bag is a lasting and treasured memory of her time as Mayoress. This is unique item of personal history which dates from the time when Brian was Mayor over 25 years ago. The family is delighted that the evening bag will be put on display in their memory.