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The Textile Society Museum, Archive and Conservation Award Winners

2017 Museum Award


The Charles Dickens Museum

48 Doughty Street, London


The Charles Dickens Museum

The Charles Dickens Museum is the former home of renowned author Charles Dickens and is the leading centre for the study, appreciation and enjoyment of the life and work of Charles Dickens (1812-1870).

It holds the World’s most comprehensive collection of relevant material – over 100,000 items, which includes a small collection of personal textiles - stockings, handkerchiefs and examples of Mrs. Dickens’ needlework.

With support from the Textile Society and an award of £2,500, the Museum will conserve, research and permanently display this unique collection of textiles in an exhibition entitled, ‘Mr. & Mrs. Charles Dickens: Intimate objects and private textiles.’

The museum feels that these items have been historically underappreciated but seen through this enlightening exhibition, will establish an important and tangible link to Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine, as people, powerfully suggesting the personal and domestic.

Director, Dr. Cindy Sughrue OBE said: “We are thrilled to receive a Textile Society Award, which will allow us to conserve, display and produce new interpretation for a collection of intimate objects and private textiles that belonged to Mr. & Mrs. Dickens. These items, including stockings, handkerchiefs and examples of Mrs. Dickens’ needlework, provide a rare and evocative glimpse into their personal lives.”

Fairlynch Museum & Arts Centre

27 Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, Devon



Fairlynch Museum

Fairlynch Museum & Arts Centre is a small accredited museum managed and staffed entirely by volunteers.

Fairlynch Museum holds a diverse collection of costume and textiles specific to Devon and in 2017 the Museum celebrated its 50th year of providing awareness and access to local history.

With support from the Textile Society and an award of £2,550, the Museum will conserve and mount an exceptional rural silk wedding dress made in 1850 and a Honiton lace train and veil, worn by Lady Sidmouth at her wedding in 1914. These exciting items will be displayed in their upcoming exhibition; ‘100 years of Wedding Dresses’, April to October 2018.

Trustee Betty Hebditch said: “Fairlynch museum were thrilled to win this award and be in the company of such prestigious former award winners.  We are looking forward to showing our wonderful costume and textile collection to Textile Society members in 2018. We hope as many of them as possible will come and see our little museum in the seaside town of Budleigh Salterton.”

2016 Museum Award


Peace Museum



This exhibition will showcase handmade banners, quilts and rugs from the museum's extensive extensive collection which have a socio-political purpose, mainly to protest for peace. The grant will support conservation, marketing and display.

Marx Memorial Library and Islington Museum



Hammersmith Ambulance for Spain banner detail

Banner Art for the Spanish Republic

In 1936 a military coup attempted to overthrow the Spanish Republic’s elected Popular Front government. There ensued a bloody civil war. In Britain a grass-roots 'Aid Spain' movement developed in solidarity with the Spanish Republic; money was raised for arms, medical supplies and refugee aid. Over 2000 men and women volunteered to fight and serve in the International Brigades. The Marx Memorial Library holds six unique and visually stunning banners which were used as part of these campaigns. They have never been displayed.

This project will provide for their professional conservation, their display at Islington Museum at a specially curated exhibition alongside related archival material, and a relevant education programme for adults and children.

American Museum in Bath

Claverton Manor


Elizabeth Lawson sampler, detail.

A Stitch in Time

The project provides scholars, textile enthusiasts and the public with a rare opportunity to learn about the women who stitched samplers and the lives they lived, and the online catalogue aspect of the wider project will allow greater access to these ever popular objects. The project will allow scholars based in the UK to compare American samplers directly with English samplers first hand and see the influence of English designs in America - as some of the samplers were stitched under tutelage of English teachers at private schools in America.

The grant will be used for the conservation and display of three fine examples of 19th century American needlework samplers, out of a total of nine, in urgent need of attention.

2015 Museum Award


George Marshall Medical Museum

Royal Worcestershire Hospital


conservation assessment.

Threads of Health: Textiles in Medicine

The focus of the project is on the conservation, presentation and interpretation of a rare mid 19th century child’s pneumonia jacket, one of only two known to exist in the UK. The project will support a body of research into the role of textiles in healthcare.

The grant will help fund the creation of a replica of their rare pneumonia jacket, together with the mount for displaying the replica and the UV filter to help protect the original from future damage on display. It will also support research at the Wellcome Institute.

Fashion Museum



‘Fire’ by Reville and Rossiter, courtesy Fashion Museum, Bath

Research and conservation of a Reville-Terry ensemble

The grant will fund analysis, conservation and display of a fancy dress ensemble, called 'Fire', designed by English couturier Reville-Terry, which will form part of a display of dresses in the museum’s forthcoming headline exhibition A History of Fashion in 100 Objects that opens in 2016.

The award will enable the museum to research, better understand and disseminate knowledge about the use of early synthetic fibres and fabrics in costume making in the UK in the 1920s.

Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries

OnFife webpage

Conservation of woven shirts

The grant will support the conservation and display of two rare seamless woven shirts, one created by Henry Inglis in 1702 and one by Henry Meldrum in 1813. These remarkable garments will form a prominent part of a new exhibition that explores Dunfermline’s impressive weaving industry, which will open as part of the galleries realaunch in 2017.

2014 Museum Award


Whitworth Art Gallery



Green dress.

Green Exhibition

The Whitworth Art Gallery has been awarded funding towards the exhibition 'Green' which will be the opening exhibition when the museum re-opens in 2015, following major redevelopemnt.

Many cultures traditionally associate the colour green with nature and nature’s attributes, including growth, fertility and rebirth, and historical textiles from the gallery’s collections will reflect these themes. In recent years, however, green has also become the symbolic colour of the environmental movement and the award from the Textile Society will support the work we have been doing with Jocelyn Whipple, a sustainable textiles ‘champion’. Jocelyn has been sourcing and commissioning contemporary examples of sustainable, ethical and environmentally conscious fashion design for display in GREEN.

The subject of sustainable textiles is a topical and important field that warrants research, discussion and celebration. The project will also see new state of the art storage, conservation and access facilities in the new Whitworth.

Chepstow Museum

Chepstow Museum webpage

The Chepstow coat.

Conservation of the Chepstow Coat

The Chepstow Coat is an 18th century silk banyan which has been described by textile historians as one of the most interesting and important Indian textiles held in a museum’s collection in the UK. The project will allow for greater understanding of the object and its history thanks to more detailed study during and after conservation. Its conservation will also allow for greater public access to the garment through exhibitions at Chepstow Museum and the British Museum in 2015.

2013 Museum Award


Bexley Heritage Trust

Bexley, Kent


Paisley design from the David Evans archive.

David Evans Remembered

£3000 has been awarded to the Bexley Heritage Trust for David Evans Remembered, a project to document and digitise an archive of pattern books and printed samples from David Evans Company, silk printers.

David Evans moved to Crayford in Kent in 1825 and took over a small printing factory, as well as another premises in Cheapside in London. The Crayford factory quickly grew and became a hub of activity printing on imported silk using the block printing method. The company developed and expanded as time went by and they provided printed silk all over Britain as well as Europe. By the mid 1800s David Evans had produced the Paisley design which is well known and still reproduced today. By the latter 20th century the company had clients such as Holland & Holland, Liberty’s, Turnball and Asser, Dior and Elizabeth Emanuel. When the business closed in 2001 Bexley Museum staff salvaged various items from the site. The public have also donated material.

This project will preserve the archive for the long term and greatly improve access to the collection through online access, better cataloguing and improved physical access.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum

Illchester, Somerset


Ensign showing weather damage.

Conservation of HMS Nairana Flag

£1409 has been awarded to the Fleet Air Arm Museum for the conservation of a Second World War ensign from HMS Nairana, an escort carrier which saw convoy duty in the Arctic Ocean.

Escort carriers were adapted merchant ships which provided very basic aircraft carriers and were a cheap but effective method of getting British air power to protect the convoys. The ships carried aircraft and personnel of the Fleet Air Arm, the flying arm of the Royal Navy.

Conservation will make it possible to display the flag in the upcoming Battle of the Atlantic exhibition, which runs for five years from 2013. The flag will be a key object and will be displayed in its weather-beaten but conserved state. This weathered condition of this object will help visitors to the exhibition to understand the type of conditions that the crew had to endure in order to maintain the supply lines to Britain and other allies such as Russia.

2012 Museum Award


Holburne Museum



Joan Sallas with folded linen animals

Folded Beauty

The 2012 Textile Society Museum, Archive and Repository Bursary has been awarded to Holburne Museum in Bath for their forthcoming exhibition by Catalonian artist Joan Sallas, Folded Beauty: the forgotten art of folded linen.

The judges were particularly impressed with the originality of the exhibition which celebrates the ancient art of linen napkin folding in the UK for the first time, its broad appeal, accessibility and accompanying education programme. Sallas who has researched and mastered the forgotten art form is now the world's leading virtuoso folder.

The exhibition that takes place in Bath from 8 February - 14 April 2013 will feature folded napkins and linen after Rennaisance and Baroque patterns. Particularly impressive were the snakes, fishes, birds and miniature works of architecture such as palaces and bubbling table fountains composed of metres of folded linen which decorated the dining table. It will then go on to tour to the Bowes Museum in County Durham and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire ensuring the widest possible audience.

The exhibition at Holburne is supported by an inclusive educational programme including a series of workshops for adults, children and families, meet the artist opportunities, and in the two weeks leading up to the opening of the show the public will be able to see Sallas folding the linen and constructing some of the pieces step-by-step.

2012 Conservation Award



Leeds University


Louisa Pesel Archive

Rehousing the Louisa Pesel Archive

The 2012 conservation award supports the rehousing of the Louisa Pesel archive of photographs and manuscripts which forms part of the international textile collection at Leeds University. The archive was bequeathed to the University in 1947 as part of the Louisa Pesel collection, much of which has been digitised and is available online.

Louisa Frances Pesel (1870-1947) was born in Bradford and became a distinguished scholar, practitioner and teacher of the art of embroidery. She studied under the Arts and Crafts practitioner Lewis Foreman Day, who recommended her for the post of Designer at the Royal Hellenic School of Needlework and Laces in Athens, where she became the Director. When she returned to England, Pesel worked for the Khaki Club, Bradford for shell-shocked soldiers and was later involved in assembling kits for POWs during the Second World War. She travelled extensively, including Egypt and India collecting and recording textiles. She published many books and articles on embroidery history, design and stitching.

2011 Award


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery



copyright Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Lost in Lace: Concealed and Revealed

A grant of £3000 was awarded to support Birmingham Museums develop an exhibition of lace It opens in the Gas Hall on 29th Oct 2011- Feb 2012 and is curated by Professor Leslie Miller. The exhibition brings together 19 international artists from 12 countries who are responding to the cultural histories and aesthetic qualities of lace. It will also explore, in part through site specific work, the dynamic relationships that textiles can make to architectural space. The temporary exhibition in the Gas Hall, also links through the Bridge Gallery display to applied art and paintings, particularly portraiture from the permanent collections in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Recent research by Gail Baxter has uncovered the socio-economic conditions in which lace was produced, sold and worn (as well as stolen, legislated and buried) and which often sits in contrast to the aesthetic qualities of the finished textile and its depiction on wealthy owners. The Bridge display will ultimately reveal the complexity of meanings that lie behind the surface appearance of this very decorative textile form.

William Morris Gallery



Louth Ingrain Flat-Weave Carpets

William Morris Gallery

£2000 has been awarded to the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Gallery is currently undergoing a highly innovative scheme to improve access to the collections. The project will be completed in July 2012 when the Gallery reopens. Funding will support the redisplay of the Battye embroidered wall hanging, designed by May Morris about 1900 and worked by members of the Battye family.

2007 Award


The Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Bournemouth, Dorset


Flockage: The Flock Phenomenon

Flockage: The Flock Phenomenon

The exhibition will explore and champion flock's presence and profile in design and culture; it will provide a critical consideration of flock: the process, the material and its application.

2006 Award


University College for the Creative Arts

Farnham, Surrey


Narrow cloth, ramie, resist dyed in indigo using starch paste; Japan

The Textiles Collection: A teaching and learning resource

The award contributed towards Gwen Fereday and Linda Brassington, Senior Lecturers in Woven and Printed Textiles, making a study visit to Kyoto specifically to research the contemporary application of natural dyes in Japan. They met Sachio Yoshioka, a fifth generation master dyer working with natural dyes. An online essay will be available to complement the Textiles Collection as a digital resource.

Louth Museum

Louth, Lincs


Louth Ingrain Flat-Weave Carpets

Louth Ingrain Flat-Weave Carpets

The factory was opened in 1787 to satisfy a growing demand for affordable floor covering. Louth ingrain carpets enjoyed a high reputation for excellent wearing quality and were highly commended at the 1867 Paris Exhibiton. Ingrain means that the wool was dyed with fast colours prior to weaving, is non-pile and reversible. The Textile Society award is enabling the Museum to set up a research project on ingrain carpeting with the aim of publishing a colour illustrated book.

2005 Award


The Royal Marines Museum

Southsea, Hampshire


Function and Identity: The study of the Royal Marines through Textiles

Function and Identity: The study of the Royal Marines through Textiles

The Royal Marines were established in 1664 . The museum recognises that uniforms have the ability to tell the human stories of war and other artefacts would struggle to do. The weight, feel and colour of a uniform and its releated items give a unique perspective of national identity and duty. The award was used to extend the collection's use of replica costumes. Educational workshops and events involving the handling of the uniforms are being further developed.

2004 Award


MODA Museum of Domestic Architecture

Woven Splendour: Italian Textiles from the Medici to the Modern Age

2003 Award


Buckinghamshire County Museum

Conservation of 18th century clothing and textiles, now on display in the museum

2002 Award


Tyne and Wear Museum

Conservation of thirteen banners, to be exhibited within the collection

2001 Award


Allhallows Museum


Creation of an area suitable for study of the lace collection

2000 Award


Harris Museum and Art Gallery


Publication of an exhibition guide for Horrockses Fashions Ltd., 1946 to the 1980s; October 2001 for one year.