A modern day sequel to the Bayeux Tapestry, featuring the most important historic moments since 1066, as voted for by children across the country, was unveiled at Battle Abbey on Monday (August 1).
The Kids’ Tapestry was created by much-loved children’s illustrator and author Liz Pichon in her signature Tom Gates style and includes the crowning of William the Conqueror in 1066, the birth of William Shakespeare and the end of the Second World War.
Speaking to the Battle Observer about the project, Liz Pichon said: “English Heritage approached me and, because it’s the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, they were very keen to do a modern day version of the Bayeux Tapestry.
“They asked children across the country to come up with their top 10 historic moments.
“My part of the job, because I illustrated the Tom Gates books, they wanted me to design a modern day version of the tapestry in the style of Tom Gates, with elements of the books for children to recognise.
“And I thought ‘what a fantastic project’.”
Although she admitted: “It’s actually a bit daunting.
“I did not think of that side of things too carefully when I got the job.”
Liz took about three weeks to complete the tapestry, adding: “That includes doing all the roughs and sending it back to English Heritage to make sure I had not made some historical errors.”
Liz, who has sold four million books translated in 43 different languages, has hidden three characters from the best-selling Tom Gates series within the tapestry.
And poignantly, Liz has also included an image of her late father, who was an RAF pilot, in the section of the tapestry depicting the end of WWII.
The Kids’ Tapestry will tour English Heritage sites over the summer from Queen Victoria’s seaside home, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight to a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
Liz said: “It’s an amazing way of bringing history to life and best thing about it is seeing it up in the places where the history took place.”
She added: “Being dyslexic, all the facts and figures of history walked out of my mind as I left school, so it’s lovely to look back on things now.”
But there is still one panel left to be filled and English Heritage is calling upon mini-historians to design the tenth panel and complete the tapestry.
Liz said: “The theme of the last panel is Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web, which is quite a tricky one to do - I’m quite pleased I don’t have to do that one.
“It will be interesting to see what they come up with.”
The competition, which opened on Monday (August 1), runs until the end of September, with the winning design revealed on the eve of 14 October 2016 - the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
Liz, who will publish her next Tom Gates book in October, will also lead a series of kids-only illustrator workshops in August, inspiring youngsters to bring history to life with coloured crayons and pencils.
For more information on the campaign and to find out how you can get involved this summer, visit the website at www.english-heritage.org.uk/tapestry.
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