Make Do And Mend

Sherborne Museum

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Patchwork Quilt

Patchwork quilt 1 Patchwork quilt 2

The unfinished quilt at Sherborne Museum that inspired their Make do and Mend Project'

We know it may not be the greatest piece of work but the story behind it has touched many hearts. For the museum it is of particular interest because the quilt was probably started in the Abbey Gate House which houses the museum today! The quilt was probably started in 1881 as this is the earliest date on one of the newspaper templates. These were never removed as the quilt was never completed and had a sad wartime ending.
The quilt was started by the Gartell sisters, Louisa and Alberta [ sometimes referred to as Albertina], and probably their mother Matilda when Joseph Gartell was a china and glass dealer in Church Lane. In the older photograph Joseph is standing in the doorway of the Abbey Gate House by his shop sign.
Joseph Gartell was born at Stourton Caundle, a small village south-east of Sherborne and within the museum collection area. Matilda was born at Farringdon, Somerset. When Louisa and Alberta moved to a small cottage at Newland, Sherborne, they took the unfinished quilt with them. Louisa was born circa 1855 and Alberta some 12 years later. On the 30th September 1940 Louisa was admitted to the town's Yeatman Hospital for some tests, shortly before the town was hit by its only bombing raid of the war. The following day, shortly before she died, Louisa was told that Alberta's body had been pulled from the rubble of their cottage. It was said that pound notes were found floating down the road released from their cushions where the sisters had sewn in their savings! The only other item recovered from the rubble was the unfinished quilt that was donated to the museum soon after it opened in 1968.

The 2010 Season at Sherborne Museum will include an exhibition on Sherborne's Bombing Raid and the quilt will be on display for the first time. During August 2010 it is planned to have a Patchwork event at the museum with visitors bringing a piece of their favourite material to create a modern piece of patchwork for the museum collection

Abbey Gate House

Joseph Gartell stands in the doorway of his china and glass shop in Abbey Gate House c 1885 with possibly one of his daughters. It was here that the quilt was started and was returned here soon after the museum opened in 1968.


Close to the Gartell's Cottage was the Newland Infants School which was destroyed in the bombing raid. Fortunately all of the children had gone home and all that was salvaged was the base of the school abacus, pictured here with fragments of bombs that fell on Sherborne on 30th September 1940. These items are in the museum collection.

Bomb Fragments Abacus Base