Open House Festival

Battle of Britain Lace Panel: Talk by conservator

art in the public realm

High Street, Bromley, BR1 1EX

A new installation of Bromley’s Battle of Britain lace panel is now on display in the Central library and forms part of Bromley Historic Collections. Join us for a talk on the restoration process and specialist textile conservation.

Getting there


Bromley South, Bromley North




Finding a new home

Our Battle of Britain lace panel has recently been restored and installed in Bromley Central library. It is one of 38 lace panels created by Nottingham-based lace-making company, Dobson & Browne, as a commemoration of the Battle of Britain (1940). It has previously been displayed in the Royal Air Force Biggin Hill officers’ mess and Bromley Civic Centre. In its new home in Central Library, the lace becomes part of Bromley Historic Collections.

Before the lace panel could be framed, a small amount of repair work was untaken by a specialist textile restorer. It was also given a much-needed bath which improved the brightness of the fabric. It was then laid out on a covered backing board and hand-stitched in place. The dark blue fabric sitting behind the lace highlights the panel’s intricate features. The lace is made of cotton and is machine woven. It took lace-makers, Dobson & Browne, two years to make the templates for the design. The lace measures approximately 4.5 x 1.6 metres and is now a distinctive feature in Bromley Central library.

The lace panel is full of imagery taken from the Battle of Britain; allied and enemy aircraft in battle, airmen parachuting out of the sky, and bomb-damaged buildings including the House of Commons, Buckingham Palace and Guildhall. St Paul’s Cathedral is shown surrounded by flames but untouched by the bombing occurring all around it. At the top of the panel the badges of the Air Forces of New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and South Africa are depicted, highlighting the diversity of those who flew and fought in the conflict. Along the edges and at the bottom of the panel are the national flowers of the British Isles. A scroll across the very bottom contains a quote from Winston Churchill’s 1940 speech: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

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