The Neston High School FEPOW patchwork quilt

15 Jul 2019

The Neston High School Far East Prisoner of War (FEPOW) patchwork quilt has been made by pupils aged 11 – 13 (Years 7 & 8) as part of the English Department’s FEPOW project. (Neston High School is in South Wirral and teaches over 1700 pupils aged 11 – 18).

Pupils have been studying FEPOW diaries and history in English during this year’s FEPOW module (as part of LSTM’s FEPOW Education Project, in association with The Secret Art of Survival art exhibition).

After studying several individual stories in depth and writing about them, pupils learned about the research done by Dr Bernice Archer PhD whose 2004 book, The Internment of Western Civilians Under the Japanese, 1941-1945: A Patchwork of Internment, reveals the extraordinary creative arts practiced by women internees in captivity in the Far East.

Each pupil was given a 20cm x 30 calico square on which they had to depict in words and/or pictures an aspect of the FEPOW experience that had touched them.

Some of these panels were sewn together by teachers, Mrs Roberts and Anne Coulthard, to form this outstanding mural, the first of the quilts.

FEPOW veteran Bob Hucklesby, 98, from Poole in Dorset, said:

“I am thrilled to see the photos of the quilt. I am so interested in the Neston High School project. The work that the pupils have done is magnificent and indicates an understanding of what happened in prisoner of war camps in the Far East. It’s important that future generations should have the opportunity to know about the past and the chance to remember those who did not return.”

The exhibition - The Secret Art of Survival: creativity and ingenuity of Far East POW, 1942-1945 – opens at the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum on 25 October and runs until 20 June 2020.