Arthur Harrison, 13 September 1923 – 4 May 2020
Our good Friend Arthur Harrison died 4th May 2020 following a short illness due to Covid-19.
Many of our longstanding members of the Quaker Tapestry will remember Arthur and his wife Pamela. Here are some memoirs of Arthur and Pamela from the book by Jennie Levin, ‘Living Threads, Making the Quaker Tapestry’
Arthur and Pamela were heavily involved in the life of the Quaker Tapestry for more than eight years from 1986, when the project was still in its infancy. They both became committee members of the scheme and Pamela took on the ‘Market’ as it was called then; organising and selling QT shop products by mail order and later at the various large exhibitions. From his tiny workshop, in a shed at the bottom of his garden, Arthur designed and made a system for displaying and touring the embroidered panels. “When the travelling exhibitions began, I was asked to buy a trailer and then I travelled all over the country with the panels. I hung most of the big exhibitions too.”
For Pamela and Arthur, as for most of the Quakers closely involved with the Quaker Tapestry, the friendships they made through the work and their appreciation of the value of the project far outweighed the inconvenience of periods of sheer exhaustion. When the Quaker Tapestry Museum found its permanent home in Kendal in 1994 Arthur and Pamela retired from the committees and while Pamela still enjoyed her stewarding at Kendal, Arthur found a new outlet for his practical abilities – building working scale models of steam engines.
Arthur gave an interview with Vivien Wrack during the Quaker Tapestry AGM weekend of 2003 when he shared memories of his time with the Tapestry. He revealed a favourite panel – “I have a little bit of affection for the Wokingham panel, the Ecology panel because I actually did some of the stitches, I did the steam from the cooling towers and I also did the hard hat which everyone thought was appropriate! It was very difficult to make it look like a hard hat!”
Grandson, Mark William Harrison, writes fondly of Arthur:
“He was a peaceful and thoughtful man who lived a long and rewarding life – a lifelong vegetarian (except for an incident involving a sandwich on a train), and Quaker. Quietly political – he supported many causes over the years. He could make and/or fix anything – and even took up painting in his later years. He loved his food, and was always was last to finish the meal as he savoured every last morsel. He gave me my love of peanut butter and trains – although I am sad that I didn’t share his interest in engines and curiosity as to how they worked.
He was heavily involved with the Quakers, working at two Quaker schools, often disappearing off to Reading Area Meeting before I really knew what Reading was. With my Nan [Pamela Harrison], he was also entangled with the Quaker Tapestry – running the merchandise out of their garage for many years and taking me to Quaker Tapestry exhibitions in Bayeux and the Festival Hall. He was well respected and loved at every meeting he attended, and it was so wonderful to hear that the members of Beverley meeting were writing to him in his last weeks.
He loved his family, and was lucky enough to visit the members in America and Canada regularly up until the last few years. His face lit up when looking at pictures of his great-grandchildren, and he was always quietly supportive of his grandchildren and the lives we chose to lead. He’d be so pleased to know how we have reconnected during this crisis.”