Saturday 21 August 2010

Thank You Lady Anne Tree

Having watched soldiers stitching during the war, Lady Anne Tree - third daughter of the 10th Duke of Devonshire of Chatsworth House - understood the deep benefits obtained from the art. Apart from providing some financial aid to prisoners, stitching had a spiritual dimension. The noise in prison would drive anyone crazy, all that banging of doors, but you can retreat in sewing. You can block out the noise. It is meditative, a way of thinking, of taking stock. So it's not just the money. It's the feeling of self worth that is vital.
Describing herself as a Victorian do-gooder, Lady Anne Tree had to lobby the Home Office for 30 years before she could commence her life's work later to be known as Fine Cell Work: work which allowed male and female prisoners to engage in skilled, engrossing and liberating work. Where shall we find another such as her? Lady Anne Tree died 9 August 2010 aged 82. God Bless. To see more of Fine Cell Work click here.


  1. What an inspiration - thank you, Jacqueline, for telling us about Lady Anne. I found their site really inspirational, too.


  2. Fine Cell work held a fundraising event, which I attended, at the V&A in conjunction with the Quilt exhibition. One of the quilts on display was made by prisoners at Wandsworth Jail. Very interesting and a charity well worth supporting.

  3. I was also very impressed with the prison work at the V&A Exhibition - a wonderful charity.
    Thanks also for the website address which has information on the Fine Cell work at Dover Castle. I am preparing an article on the RSN embroideries there & will add a piece on the lovely cushions!

  4. Thank you all for the comments of support and praise for our Founder, the charity and our stitchers. We really appreciate you all blogging about Fine Cell Work and spreading the word.
    We are so glad to hear you enjoyed the V&A quilt too - it was a wonderful project and the men at HMP Wandsworth got so much out of it.
    Thanks again, Fine Cell Work