Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Northern Home for Textiles

It seems as though the search for a northern location to hold textile history collections is not new, in fact the search has gone on for more than 100 years. And, even today it seems as elusive in the finding as El Dorado. In 1892 the Clothworkers' Company - one of the original London Guilds - set up a base in Leeds to teach and disseminate textile practices.The archives and artifacts kept by the Clothworkers can now be seen at Ulita which is based in St Wilfrid's church just beyond the northern boundary of Leeds University Campus. The galleries there surround a central 'Ark' (located on the left of the picture) which is the main textile archive. Exhibitions change frequently and it is always worth a visit if you are in the area. On your way there pop into the Clothworkers' hall which is part of the old university buildings - it is a totally fascinating experience. A few years ago Whitby Museum received major lottery funding for enlarged textile galleries, but so far they have proved limited. Now it is hoped that the Bowes Museum will become a centre for textile history once they open new galleries with their extensive costume collection. And the Embroiderers' Guild is still looking and hoping.


  1. Leeds also has two big collections of flat textiles at Temple Newsam and Marks and Spencer are hoping to build their archive next to Ulita.

  2. Thanks for an interesting and informative posting. Next time I am in Leeds I will know where to aim for.