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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
World's biggest tapestry on move
The New World Tapestry
The 39 million stitch tapestry took 23 years to complete
The world's largest tapestry is to be move from its home in Devon to a museum in Bristol.

The 267-feet-long New World Tapestry, which depicts the colonisation of the Americas between 1583 and 1648, has been on display at Coldharbour Mill in Devon for 10 years.

Now the 39 million stitch tapestry, which was 23 years in the making, is to have a new home at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol.

The 24-panel work has been given to the museum by its designer, Tom Mor, who said that in its new home "it could become Britain's Bayeux Tapestry".

Team of volunteers

The New World Tapestry was begun in the 1970s - the first stitch was sewn by the then US Ambassador, Kingman Brewster.

A team of 250 volunteers working at nine centres in Devon and Dorset completed the huge artwork.

It is the perfect position for the tapestry - it will be an absolutely cracking exhibition.
Tom Mor

They were assisted by various members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, Prince Philip, the Princess Royal and the late Queen Mother, who all added their own golden stitches to the work.

The final stitch was sewn by Prince Charles at Highgrove on 3 March 2000.

The tapestry is due to move to its new home in Bristol at the beginning of next month.

'Perfect position'

The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, which opened a year ago, is located in Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel's old railway station at Temple Meads in the city.

Mr Mor said the tapestry "fits hand in glove" with what the museum is doing, and that the new site offered the chance to display the tapestry in its proper order.

"The museum already attracts 150,000 people annually, and it has only been going a year," he said.

"It is the perfect position for the tapestry - it will be an absolutely cracking exhibition. It is exactly what I wanted for it."

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