Designs were drafted out by Marjorie Brown and initially completed for the nave and the Broadley Chapel. As the project progressed she hit on the idea of enabling the public to donate a kneeler in memory of a loved one.
Marjorie studied art in her youth and was very capable at turning ideas and themes into designs. Each design had to be colour matched to the overall scheme but accurately represent the organisation, club or society depicted. She devoted nearly 30 years to the project and managed the design, creative volunteers, making-up and dedicating of the kneelers in Holy Trinity.
At a time when Marjorie could have been having a quiet, undemanding life during her late 60s and into her 80s, she was teaching, leading and involving others as they worked to bring colour to the church. In September 1985, at a ceremony in Holy Trinity, Marjorie was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Humberside for her services as an embroiderer to Humberside Churches. Having continued after the death of her husband with the project’s completion, she retired to Whitchurch, Shropshire, to be near her son.
Hull Minster’s embroidered kneelers reflect the history of Hull itself. Each one is part of a colourful record of the city’s civic founders, its buildings, industries, individuals, clubs and groups.
In 1972, the then vicar of Holy Trinity, Rev Gerald Bridgman, encouraged Mrs Marjorie Brown build a team of volunteer embroidery enthusiasts to create a beautifully designed collection of kneelers. 20 ladies got together under Marjorie’s guidance who were aiming to complete 100 kneelers between them. Eventually, nearly 100 embroiderers contributed, each completing hundreds of hours of stitching. Men were also part of the team. Captain John Waldy of Trinity House completed sixteen kneelers whilst he was working away at sea on four month trips. At the end of the project, 18 years later, people from all over the country were contributing their work.
Taking a close look at the kneelers you can see Bible Stories, regimental badges, sacred emblems, town and country scenes, all showing the rich life of Hull, its people and countryside. Dedications to charities, people and schools can also be found stitched into the sides of each one.