In 1967 Berkshire Craft Centre was started in Wokingham by Nina Lovesey. Run by volunteers, the aim of this non-commercial organisation was to promote many crafts, including lacemaking. They met in the Old Brewery in Denmark Street until they had to move to make way for Tesco’s new supermarket.
Unfortunately alternative suitable premises could not be found to give the Craft Centre a permanent home so it had to be disbanded. However, Peggy Body was determined that the Lacemakers should continue so, in 1982, she offered her home as a temporary solution. This was so popular that, as membership grew, they had to meet twice a week to accommodate everybody.
By 1983 it was decided to form one group, meeting once a week and accommodation was found, on Monday evenings, in the local St. John’s Ambulance HQ. So “Wokingham Lacemakers” was born officially in June 1984.
We have had to move a few times as our hosts’ circumstances changed, but we give thanks to the Salvation Army, Hewlett Packard and the Rides Centre who have housed us in the past. Our last move, in 2004 was to the Wokingham Methodist Church Hall in Rose Street. This became “The Bradbury Centre” when it was rebuilt in 2006
In “Lace Gallery” you will see some of the group projects we have created over the years.
A model of a wedding cake was decorated for the Lace Guild Exhibition in 1986. It was deconstructed in 1989 and some of the lace was used to make our banner which was completed in 1994.
In 1987 our members started to fully dress a period doll. She was completed in 1989 and called Sophie. She has been residing with Peggy Body since 2001.
From September 1992 to June 1993 some of our members collaborated to make a wedding garter for Charmaine, another of our members.
For the Millennium, we made lace motifs which were sewn onto a tablecloth. We take this with us as a source of different lace styles and designs when we are demonstrating lacemaking at fairs and fetes, or exhibiting our craft.
Since 2006 we have taken part in the Methodist Church’s annual Festival of Trees, so we have made numerous Christmas decorations, including two garlands, to decorate our tree. In 2006 we were Highly Commended which surprised us as we did not realise it was a competition. We were very proud to be voted first in the adult section in 2014. We had decorated our tree with 85 lace, knitted, crocheted or beaded snowmen and a lace star at the top made by six of the committee
2014 also saw us celebrating our 30th birthday. Our meetings are still regularly attended by three of the original members.
In June 2019, due to reduced numbers and increasing costs, we took the decision, to become a self help group, with the running shared between the members. We no longer pay a tutor, however, anyone wishing to learn, will still be welcome.