Honiton’s famous lace to return to House of Commons following Speaker’s visit
- Credit: Archant
The Speaker of the House of Commons has spoken of being in ‘awe’ during his visit to see the Honiton maker of a lace jabot and cuffs that were worn by three of his predecessors.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle hopes to see the beautifully-designed lace back in Speaker’s House in future, following a meeting with Patricia Perryman who created the original items some 40 years ago.
Sir Lindsay visited Allhallows Museum in Honiton on Monday (July 25) where he saw the lace jabot and cuffs worn by speakers of the past and learned about Honiton’s lacemaking history.
He said: “I’m actually a little intimidated by Mrs Perryman that someone can create this magnificent lace for the Speaker of the House of Commons.
“I am in awe of the fact that I am going to have the privilege to wear this lace again.”
Sir Lindsay was also presented with a commemorative plate made by Honiton Pottery.
Mrs Perryman, 83, said she spent 500 hours and two years creating a white frilly jabot in 1982 for then Speaker Bernard Weatherill to wear at the State Opening of Parliament.
Honiton was so proud that a Speaker would wear an item created by one of their own, 70-lacemakers paraded through the town on 23 June 1984, before the jabot was presented to Sir Bernard.
So pleased was he with Mrs Perryman’s skilled handiwork, he asked her if she could make a matching pair of cuffs.
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Five years later in 1989, and a further 1,000 hours of work, Mrs Perryman presented Sir Bernard with the cuffs at an exhibition entitled Lace as Art in Fairfield Halls, Croydon, where he was an MP.
Betty Boothroyd (from 1992) and Michael Martin (from 2000) wore the Honiton lace at State occasions.
But when John Bercow announced his plan to swap the traditional Speaker-regalia for ‘a business suit’ and ‘simple and unfussy gown’ - Allhallows Museum in Honiton, wrote to him in 2009, asking for it back so that it could be cleaned and stored.
Former local MP Angela Browning delivered the jabot and cuffs to the museum, where it has been on display ever since.
Mrs Perryman said it will be ‘wonderful’ to see her lace being worn in the House of Commons again.
New MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Richard Foord, looks likely to be the one who has the responsibility of returning the cuffs and jabot to the Speaker’s House.
He said: “These skills are still in Honiton – we really have people that have these skills.
“My sense is that this part of Devon is really proud of its heritage.
“People love to see the cottage industries kept alive.”
Designed by Tom Griffiths, a Honiton County Secondary school art teacher and artist, the jabot features a rose, thistle, shamrock and daffodil on the top layer – to represent the four nations of the United Kingdom.
The lower layer depicts a sprig of Honiton honeysuckle, two otters to represent the river that flows through the town, and local landmark Dumpdon Hill.
This particular type of lace, which is made on a pillow with bobbins, became fashionable after Queen Victoria used it for her wedding dress.