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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Elizabeth Hake

This is Elizabeth Hake in her debutante's dress which she would have worn to be presented at court.

Today I am going to tell you what I know about Elizabeth Hake who wrote English Quilting Old & New.
For several years I worked with a lady called Lizzie Smith. When I started my quilting life she told me that her granny wrote a book about Quilting and shortly afterwards gave me her book. Lizzie Smith was before her marriage also called Elizabeth Hake.
The following information was giving to me by Jean Hake her daughter-in-law and Lizzie gave me some stories too.
Elizabeth Forbes Hake was born in London in 1890 to Sir Robert and Lady Burnet. Sir Robert was Physician to the Royal Household which at the time was King George V this allowed her to meet and entertain many distinguished politicians and leaders of the day.Much to her regret she never went to School , but was educated by governesses who must have found her shining intelligence a joy. She went to finishing school in Dresden( Her French and German were faultless).
She enjoyed telling her grandchildren about the handsome young Prussian officers who used to tickle the back of the necks of young ladies sitting in front of them at the Opera!
She married Guy Donne Gordon Hake( Who came from a distinguished artistic family )in 1924.
Guy was an Architect. They spent their holidays at a family house called Stoke Hayes in Yarcombe Devon and it was here that Elizabeth Hake's interest in quilting grew.
Among other things she was a superb needlewomen and she became intrigued when a friend asserted that there was no indigenous quilting in the West Country.
Her subsequent research on the subject resulted in a book entitled English Quilting Old & New first published in 1937. Her husband did all the illustrations.
Lizzie told me another one of Granny's stories that one of the Governess asked permission for a day off, which was granted and she took herself off to Epsom Downs on Derby Day and threw herself in front of the Kings horse. Turned out she was a suffragette called Emily Davison . She died 4 days later of her injuries. I suppose that was one way the children got out of school until a new governess was apponited.
Elizabeth Forbes Hake died in 1987 aged 97.

My next post will be on treasures in the trunk as I was fortunate that Elizabeth's textile's including quilts came into my possession for a short while.


  1. How wonderful to have such amazing info. on one of the major "names" in our quilting history - am eager for the next post!

  2. I can't wait to read the next post!!!!
    oh is this a book I should have in my library??? does it have pictures of quilts in it as well????

  3. What a great story! How fun to be able to hear a part of quilting history!!!

  4. A fabulous story and how wonderful for you to have heard some of it from her descendant and relative. Will look forward to the next instalment

  5. How interesting! I had actually heard about a woman who threw herself in front of a horse in protest regarding suffrage. That is amazing to be able to put that story into context. I wonder did Lizzie have any of her grandmother's quilts?

  6. Great story Sue, can't wait to hear more and see what comes out of the trunk. These tales have to be told before they get lost to time.