Scott-Bader Commonwealth

A lovely aspect of having the Quaker Tapestry on public display is reuniting with it’s makers. The vibrant embroidered panels were made by 4,000 men, women and children from 15 countries. Over the years many of these people have visited the Quaker Tapestry.

One of those who contributed to the creation of the Quaker Tapestry was Bridget Ringrose who visited the museum recently. Bridget had stitched on the Scott Bader Commonwealth panel. This was the first time Bridget had seen the panel completed!

Bridget spoke fondly of her time at Scott Bader, having had a very hands on technical role. She recalled how the company allocated each worker to an elderly person in the local community, to provide companionship and take food parcels to. Bridget was so happy when she was contacted to take part in the creation of the panel and she remembers how she had been taught the stitches by Joan Swift in just two two hour sessions. Bridget embroidered the flowers along the bottom of the panel and the jacket worn by one of the group in the centre of the panel. All the people featured on the panel were her co-workers.

About Scott-Bader Commonwealth

Ernest Bader (1890 -1982), came to England from Switzerland in 1912 after serving in the Swiss Army. In 1923 he founded Scott-Bader & Company, to sell Swiss celluloid. The company then acquired an agency for nitro-cellulose and other products which advanced the swifter application and durability of paints and lacquers. In 1932 the company started manufacturing pigment pastes for surface coatings and in 1940, disrupted by air raids, left London to set up in a Georgian manor house with 44 acres of park in Wollaston, near Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire. Here it pioneered the manufacture of synthetic resins. The company led the way in founding the glass-reinforced plastics industry, especially used in modem boat building.

Ernest Bader, his family and colleagues led the way to a new vision of a working democracy. He was an industrial realist but also an idealist. In 1951, he and the other shareholders gifted their shares to the workforce, the Scott-Bader Commonwealth. Each man and woman, who is over 18 and who has worked a year for the company is entitled to a share, not just of profits, but of the whole company. There is thus a common ownership, trusteeship with regular conferences of all the workers, sharing decisions, responsibilities as well as the financial rewards of their work.

About the panel

True to the spirit of the Commonwealth, the design was a joint effort. Designed by Anne Wynn-Wilson, Ann Nichols, Hansi Bader (Ernests great granddaughter) and Commonwealth Members.  Embroidered by Vivienne Schilt, Joan Swift and others in Northampton and Wellingborough group.

Ernest Baders portrait is skillfully embroidered on the bottom left of this panel. We see the research and manufacturing equipment in the centre left embroidery. A group of workers in discussions in the centre. On the centre right are the drums being loaded into trucks to be exported to many parts of the world, as we see from the flags.

Along the bottom of the panel the children of the Meeting designed and embroidered the 80th birthday of Ernest, held at the manor. Ernest and his son Godric were active members of the environmental sub-committee of the Society of Chemical Engineers, whose main aim is to hand over a world less polluted, to our children. This is demonstrated on the right of the panel where a small girl receives the world from an adult.

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“We aim to secure sufficient funds to enable future generations to experience the inspiration and pleasure that the Tapestry has given to so many people.”

Bridget Guest, General Manager