The Test Valley Tapestry

The Test Valley 'Tapestry' was the brainchild of the late Mr Laurie Porter, former Mayor of Andover Borough, who, as Test Valley Borough Mayor in 1983, conceived the idea that the natural beauty and rich and varied history of the area should be portrayed and linked in this way.

He identified a number of locations, representing fifty-five villages and three towns, made local contacts, and, with enthusiastic support of some 40 groups or individual embroiderers, set things in motion.

The work took almost 10 years to complete, and in that time the number of communities depicted grew. In 19 separate panels, it finally covered some 75 of the borough's hamlets, villages, parishes and towns, and had involved the work of about 1500 local people of all ages.

The 'tapestries' (technically they are embroideries, but alliteration and historical precedent carry the day) are as rich and varied as the area they depict, with the common thread of the Test and its tributaries running through them.

All embrace an abundance of wild-life and a pageant of history, but their principal features are the buildings and beauty spots which populate the valley.

In addition, however, local characters can be found walking their dogs, Army Air Corps helicopters from Middle Wallop buzz the skies along with the ghosts of aircraft past; anglers try their luck in the Test, whilst children fish the village pond, or dance round the Maypole.

But these are just a few examples from a wealth of detail which awaits close inspection and all the panels bear tribute to the painstaking work of the many – over 300 people contributed to the Somborne piece – or the few.

The Tapestry is located in the Conference Suite of the Council Offices and may be viewed by prior appointment only.

Books and Postcards are available for sale.

Contact Us

For further information or to arrange a viewing please telephone 01264 368841 or email CommunityandLeisure@testvalley.gov.uk