Battle of Britain lace panel
The Battle of Britain lace panel held at the Australian War Memorial was manufactured by Dobsons & M. Browne & Co. Ltd between 1942 and 1947. It was woven to commemorate the battle and as a tribute to those who fought to save Britain.
Maintaining a skilled workforce
Dobsons & Browne was a British firm which made lace curtains. During the war they mainly produced mosquito and camouflage netting. This left their highly trained designers and draughtsmen under-employed. The firm decided to make a large commemorative lace panel which would enable their workforce to retain lace making skills and standards.
Creating the panel
Designers began work on the panel in 1942. It took two years to complete the design, which included some scenes taken from photographs. Drafting the jacquard (pattern cards) took another 15 months. The panel measured 4.5 x 1.62 metres when completed.
Thirty—eight panels are thought to have been woven before the jacquards were destroyed. Thirty—one panels are currently known to exist, with four located in Australia.
Images on the panel
The panel depicts scenes of the bombing of London, and the types of aircraft used in the battle. It incorporates the badges of the Allied air forces involved and the floral emblems of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. A cottage and a castle are also depicted to indicate that rich and poor suffered alike. The edging of the curtain is composed of ripening ears of corn representing the season during which the Battle of Britain took place. Interwoven with these are Tudor roses, thistles, shamrocks, and oak leaves.
Also included are the names of the firm and the craftsmen from Dobsons & Browne who created the work. At the bottom on a scroll are Sir Winston Churchill's famous words: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."
Bill Rowe, The Battle of Britain in lace: an illustrated history of the Battle of Britain commemorative lace panels (Kent: Bill Rowe, n.d.)