Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wemyss School of Needlework and Needlework Classes

The Ancient Kingdom of Fife bounded by the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay is a very special and lovely region of Scotland with an interesting history associated with coal mining and trade with the low countries (Netherlands) since the 16th century. It is no surprise that the other name of Wemyss, though home of a magnificent castle, is Coalhouse-of-Wemyss. And it is probably via Fife that the decorated lettering seen on Scottish samplers was either transferred to or from the Netherlands.
The Wemyss School of Needlework was founded in 1877 by Dora Wemyss, inspired by the Royal School of Needlework in London which was founded just 5 years before in 1872. The school began life in Wemyss Castle and moved to its present purpose built home on the Main street of Wemyss in 1880 (see below). Care of the school has been passed down through the Wemyss family and the School’s seamstresses since 1877 until Mary Birrell (the great granddaughter of the first mistress Mrs Webster) retired at the end of 2011.
The School houses an important and unique collection of textiles and artefacts including items made at the school, original designs, tracings and paintings, source material as well as pieces collected from around the world. The school exhibits selected items changing throughout the year and is delighted to welcome pre-arranged groups of up to 20 at the School outside their normal opening hours at a charge of £4.00 per head (minimum party charge £40). This charge, and any donations, is put towards the running costs of the School and a programme of conservation and repair of the collection of historic textiles and artefacts.
Helen McCook from the Royal School of Needlework will be holding classes in the School from 10am to 4pm on the following dates:
Friday 27th June - Goldwork/Or Nue
Saturday 28th June - Introduction to Stumpwork
Saturday 26th July - Blackwork
Sunday 27th July - Blackwork
All classes £70 to include tuition and lunch (materials will be charged separately). For more information, click here


  1. Toujours ravie de lire vos articles,trés interessant,et d'admirer ces images,qui font découvrir souvent un univers d'autant plus admirable car souvent inaccessible
    Merci a vous

  2. The Wemyss school of needlework is fairly close to me so I must check it out! Thank you for such an interesting article I have really enjoyed it.

  3. See also Quilt Studies vol 12, 2011....The Weymus School of Needlework and the Business of Quilting 1928-1940' by Janet Rae, copies available through the Quilt Museum York