Decades-old P.E.I. quilt ends up in Reading, U.K.

For the first time in his life, Mark Golden, of Reading, U.K., gave a second glance at the quilt that's been in his family for as long as he can remember — discovering something neat.

The quilt's patches hold the names of about 280 people from P.E.I., U.S., U.K., Nova Scotia and more

'It’s an unusual item and it was just a bit of fun to find out where you think it came from,' Mark Golden says. (Submitted)

A little piece of P.E.I. history has been found across the pond.

For the first time in his life, Mark Golden, of Reading, U.K., gave a second glance at the quilt that's been in his family for as long as he can remember — discovering something new after all those years.

The blanket that kept him and his brothers and sister warm decades ago, and is still used by Golden now and again, has its origins in Canada.

"I've never really paid attention to the writing on it," he said.

"We have relatives in the U.S. and I always thought it came from there, but my wife started looking up the areas that the quilt refers to and that's where it all started."

Golden has 'absolutely no idea' how the P.E.I. quilt somehow made its way to his city. (Submitted)

The quilt's patches hold the names of about 280 people from the U.S., U.K., Nova Scotia and more but about 95 per cent of the names are from P.E.I, he said.

It's an unusual item and it was just a bit of fun to find out where you think it came from.— Mark Golden

After reviewing some of the names and locations, Golden launched his own investigation into the quilt's beginnings, speaking with his 88-year-old mother.

She told him, he said, that it was bought at a second-hand shop in Reading around the mid- to late-1960s.

Other than that, Golden said he had "absolutely no idea" how the P.E.I. quilt somehow made its way to his city — about an hour and a half west of London — but it's a fine piece of history he'll keep around the home.

"It's an unusual item and it was just a bit of fun to find out where you think it came from," he said.

The quilt has about 280 names just like this across its surface. (Submitted)

Signature quilts used for fundraisers 

Signature quilts were used mainly for fundraisers in the early 1900s, said ​Linda Berko, the curator of collections and conservator at the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation.

For example, Berko said it cost 18 cents to put a name on the quilt in 1940 and the finished version was auctioned off for $6.

She said years ago, making the quilts was one of the ways women could volunteer to help raise funds for the war as well as more local efforts and causes in their community.

"They're really interesting ways of documenting people who lived in the particular community and what their social activities revolved around," she said.

"It's a good research tool as well, in addition to being something that's really interesting to look at."

With files from Brittany Spencer