Embroidered souvenir signature cloth : Mrs A M Cuthbe, Changi Prison

Accession Number REL/08534
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Linen; Cotton; Embroidery thread
Maker Cuthbe, Augusta Mary
Place made Singapore: Changi
Date made c 1942-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Rectangular, fine cream linen, souvenir cloth, machine hemmed on one edge and hand hemmed on the other three edges. The cloth is edged with cream cotton lace applied with fine hand whipped stitches. The centre of the cloth bears a green circle in embroidered in fine chainstitch. Within it is a chainstitch scroll bearing satinstitch lettering 'CHANGI PRISON SINGAPORE'. Also within the circle, in chainstitch is '8-3-1942/ A.M. Cuthbe/ 23-9-45'. The latter date has been written in pencil with only the '5' embroidered in. Around the central motif are the embroidered signatures of women who were interned in Changi Prison with Mrs Cuthbe. Originally in pencil, they were over embroidered by Mrs Cuthbe in three shades of green, two of blue, pink, gold, mauve, red and orange. The signatures are as follows: Pat Daly, A W Pope, Dorothy G Byron, Joan M Boston, M E Williams, Jean Henderson, Dorothy Toby, Alice Eber, Cynthia Kock, Oliver Miller, J McCubbin, M A Bateman, Victoria McKenzie, Gladys Tompkins, Freddy Brown, E Bullock, M R Evans, Dorothy Mather, Jeanette Robinson, Helen Letts, P R Elliott, K Lena Elkins, Mollie Jones, D McDonald, Judy McIvor, Helen Mackie, Mina Sparkz, Helen A Kirkbride, K Stewart, Florence Garcia, L C Rodger, Ena Hunt, Mimi Weiss, Mollie Hill, Margaret Akers, K H Greig, I D Brown, Ann Tostee, Hilda McLeod, Betty H Allen, Norah Stafford, Helen Dive, E Doherty, Winifred Taplyn, I M Thomas, W MacDonald, A L Griffith-Jones, Olga Warren, M J H White, Julia Kinnear, Joyce P Burgess, Eve McCarthy, Hilda Barbour, V Patterson, Marion Williams, T M Caslen, B H Egger, Winifred Harriett, Nora J Jones, R A Webster, Irene Whitehead, Lucy Fletcher, Iris G I Parfitt, Margaret Smallwood, Violet P Aitken, J W Jeffries, E T Murray-Ayusley.

History / Summary

Made by Mrs Augusta M Cuthbe, who was a British civilian internee of the Japanese in Changi Prison, and later at Syme Road, Singapore. Her husband, Mr Kenneth V Cuthbe, an engineer with the British colonial service in Malaya, was interned in the men's section of the prison. Both survived the war and later settled in Australia. Although Mrs Cuthbe was an accomplished sewer and embroiderer she did not make a square for any of the three Changi Quilts, and Mrs Ethel Mulvaney, the coordinator of the quilt making, is not represented on any of Mrs Cuthbe's embroideries. However, many of the signatories of Mrs Cuthbe's work also made squares for the quilts. The signatures on this embroidery are of female internees with whom she played Bridge.