New Great Tapestry of Scotland panel created by the RCM unveiled at exhibition in Scotland

By RCM on 26 June 2018 RCM Scotland Midwives Great Tapestry Of Scotland Scotland

A new tapestry panel created by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been exhibited for the first time at the New Lanark World Heritage site in Scotland.

The tapestry panel which now forms part of the ‘Great Tapestry of Scotland’ was unveiled at a special ceremony last week and is currently being exhibited at New Lanark until the 1st July 2018 (10am-5pm).  

The RCM tapestry panel marks the Centenary of the Midwives Act (Scotland) 1915.  Over the course of 2015 the panel, supported by a group of expert midwife needle-workers  travelled the length and breadth of Scotland to enable midwives, maternity support workers, student midwives, professors, paediatricians,  anaesthetists, obstetricians, porters and domestic staff to put a stitch in a piece of history.  The final stitch was made by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Patron of The Royal College of Midwives on the 2nd December 2016. This is the first time that the panel has been exhibited as part of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

The RCM's tapestry panel has at its centre an image of a mother and baby wrapped in a traditional shawl supported by two midwives from the past and present day. Each corner holds an image considered to be of particular importance to midwives in Scotland. In the top left corner of the panel is a pomegranate, a symbol of fertility. It features in the crest of the Royal College of Midwives. In the top right corner is the Breath of Life rose which, along with other celebrations, marked the Centenary of the Royal College of Midwives in 1981.

In the bottom right corner of the panel is the badge of the Central Midwives Board for Scotland (CMB) which was in use between 1962-1983. Inside the blue surround bearing the CMB’s name are three symbols special to midwifery in Scotland. From the top down, they are: the thistle of Scotland; three oystercatchers, known as gille-Bride, meaning the page or servant of Bride. Thus they are connected with St Bride through their Gaelic name. Bride is the Celtic saint associated with fertility; on the badge, below the oystercatchers is the dove associated with care and attention. In the bottom left is a snowdrop, also closely associated with St Bride and symbolising the coming of new life. Bride is widely looked on as the patron saint of Celtic midwives, her day is 1 February when snowdrops are showing the first sign of spring. Legend says that Bride was midwife for Mary at Jesus’ birth and that when Mary his mother went to the temple after his birth, Bride carried the candles which remained burning despite the wind. Thus, snowdrops are also sometimes called ‘Bride’s candles’. History has been made by Scottish Midwives in celebration of this wonderful profession. 

New Lanark first hosted the Great Tapestry of Scotland back in 2014, exhibiting it to over 13,000 visitors. Now in 2018, The Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark as you’ve never seen it before with this amazing new panel. Discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project. For the first time ever, panels from ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ are being exhibited alongside fascinating insights from Dorie Wilkie, Lead Stitcher and her team of 1000+ stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland. The exhibition also includes original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of one of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and with the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, (not to mention more than 1000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland) formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool (enough to lay the entire length of Scotland), illustrating 420 million years of Scottish history in 161 panels, this beautiful tapestry depicts the entire history of Scotland.




The Making the Great Tapestry of Scotland is the second exhibition to feature in New Lanark’s redeveloped Exhibition Gallery and to to find out more visit: THE MAKING OF THE GREAT TAPESTRY OF SCOTLAND

More information is available to view here: