BECK Isle Museum in Pickering has launched a fundraising appeal to conserve a unique quilt.

The huge red and white signature quilt, which was made in 1888, bares the names of more than 250 teachers and pupils from Pickering’s St Peter & St Paul Church Sunday School.

Liz Whitehouse, one of the textile volunteers at Beck Isle Museum, said the quilt was made under the supervision of Frances, the wife of the Rev G H Lightfoot, Vicar of Pickering from 1875 to 1902.

“One of the names on the quilt is Annie Tomkins, who worked as a maid for Rev Lightfoot,” she said.

“When the Lightfoots died, Annie inherited the quilt. It was passed on to Annie’s daughter who donated it to the museum in 1992.

“The quilt is made from a base of Turkey red calico to which shapes of white calico have been stitched and carries the embroidered names of the teachers and children attending the Sunday School in 1888, embroidered in beautiful stylised letters.

“The squares are bordered with a wide variety of embroidery stitches.

“At approximately three metres square, the only place to display the quilt at the museum was on the staircase and the quilt hung here for over 20 years.

“Unfortunately, this long exposure to light and the stress caused to the fabric by being attached to the wall by strips of Velcro has caused the quilt to weaken and there are now holes in the fabric.

“The bottom section of the quilt was covered with Perspex to prevent damage from touching, but this also trapped dirt and insects.”

Liz said the quilt had been taken down from display and other quilts from the museum’s collection will be shown in this space on an annual rotation.

“The museum now needs to raise over £3,000 to repair and conserve this amazing piece of Pickering’s history,” she said.

“Once the quilt has been conserved, the museum hopes to be able to display the quilt in St Peter & St Paul’s Church for a short time so that people from the area have an opportunity to see the quilt and perhaps find their ancestors’ names.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation to conserving the quilt can do so online at