VE Day quilts: Heritage Patchwork and Quilts from the 1940s

Join The Quilters' Guild Museum Collection as we take a look at how people celebrated V.E. day with with textiles of the time and a wider look at patchwork and quilting.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of V.E day (Victory in Europe), here is one of our fantastic Canadian Red Cross Society quilts. We call it our ‘V for Victory Quilt’, as the fabrics used in several of the crazy patchwork blocks include a very interesting ‘V for Victory’ print on both a blue and red background. This patriotic print has a white letter ‘V; with the dot-dot-dot-dash for V in Morse code within the letter. The quality of the print itself is not very good, but it represents a series of novelty wartime related prints that were available. The rest of the blocks contain predominantly blue, white and red fabrics, with the exception of some coloured floral prints. The backing is made from striped cotton flannelette and the original Canadian Red Cross Society label is still intact on the reverse.

This quilt was given to the donor’s mother-in-law when she lived in West Croydon. Her home was damaged five times during air raids in the Second World War, and this quilt was given to her at some point during that time.

Thousands of quilts were sent over from the Canadian Red Cross Society to Britain in the Second World War to aid the War relief. They were given to families that had been bombed out of their houses as well as members of the armed forces, hospitals and hostels. Quilts were made quickly and were often utilitarian in style, and the crazy block was one of the most popular styles as any size and colour of fabric scrap could be used. Each quilt had a small label sewn on which read 'Gift of the Canadian Red Cross Society'. The women who made the quilt remain anonymous, as it was forbidden for them to put their names to the quilts they made.

164cm x 203cm

The Red Cross emblem is a protective symbol used during armed conflicts and its use is restricted by law. The Quilters' Guild wishes to thank the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the British Red Cross Society for authorisation to display the Canadian Red Cross quilts bearing the emblem on our collections website.