St. Johns - Kneeler Cushion Project

The St. John’s Church Kneeler Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is to be based around the kneeler cushions or "hassocks" which are situated in St. John’s Church on York Road in Great Yarmouth.

The kneeler cushions are in various degrees of deterioration and show variation in techniques and abilities of needlework. This project was to initially focus on the recording, cleaning and repairing of the old kneelers, but was expanded to some workshops designing and making new kneeler cushions.

Whist recording the cushions, those involved had to check the outside of the cushions for any damage that had been done to them, any dirt or stains that have been accumulated over the years, as well as checking if there were any bugs and insects that had taken up residence in them. As a result, the cushions had to be cleaned and some had to be put in freezers in order to rid them of any pests. 

The cleaning was achieved by removing the outsides of the cushions, and brushing the dirt and loose materials off, as well as vacuuming to make sure all debris was removed. Once they were cleaned and had all insects removed from them, they were then placed inside shrink wrap to keep them protected.

The design and development of ideas for the new kneeler cushions were to reflect on many themes which could be based on or around the Church, or other personal stories. The participants were free to use any technique or style of needlework to achieve the designs they wanted. These were worked on in regular weekly meetings or gatherings and at home by their creators.

From Thursday 7th until Sunday 10th September, the old and new kneeler cushions were featured in an exhibition held at St. Johns, followed by a second exhibition at the Skipping’s Gallery from Monday 6th until Wednesday 15th November. The kneeler cushions were also on display during the heritage open days. They are now being kept in St John's, and will be monitored over the years to make sure they stay in good condition.

A video was produced by Great Yarmouth based film maker Joe Malcolm documenting the St. John's Kneeler Cushion Project:

Project Funded by:-