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New St Paul's Cathedral First World War Altar Frontal and Memorial Book

From the Hands of Heroes

The story of how injured men learned to embroider a dazzling altar frontal despite the horrors of  World War One is now available in a new book.

Convalescing servicemen in Britain's military hospitals worked on the altar frontal as part of their therapy. Now you can read about the creation of this unique memorial, crafted between the summer of 1918 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

The amazing, beautiful and moving work of 138 men is presented, explored - and honoured - in the new book: From the Hands of Heroes - The St Paul's Cathedral First World War Altar Frontal and Memorial Book.

Read about the first display of the historic frontal since World War One

A Memorial Book is on display in the Cathedral with the altar frontal. It details the men involved, as the hospitals where they stayed contributed commemorative pages. This Memorial Book is reproduced in its entirety in this new book. 

See images of the altar frontal

The book includes fascinating detail about how handicrafts were used as therapy at a time when embroidery was part of daily life, the role of Britain's military hospitals,and the  St Paul's Broderers who worked on the restoration. It explains the detailed research by St Paul's staff and volunteers into finding relatives of the men, who travelled from Australia, Canada and around the UK for a special commemoration service.

From the Hands of Heroes is a first step into publishing by Memory Lane Media.

Managing Director Andrew Humphries said: 'We're honoured to have worked on such a moving project with St Paul's. The abiding message of the book is how hope can overcome despair and beauty can mitigate tragedy.'

The First World War altar frontal will be on display in the Cathedral until 2018.

Revd Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor, said: 'The story of this altar frontal demonstrates how our creative spirit can be harnessed as a means of rehabilitation.'

The 90 page hardcover book, which features a pull-out full image of the altar frontal, is on sale at St Paul's Cathedral Shop