Reporter 419, 27 April 1998

Textiles collection proves it’s a material world

After years in the dark, a hoard of textile treasures kept in a cramped, dusty attic in the School of Textile Industries may soon see the light of day in a purpose-built archive if a grant application is successful.

The collection includes rare pieces from all over the world. Egyptian mummy fabrics from the 12th and 26th dynasties, Kashmir shawls, Renaissance textiles from Italy, 200 Chinese Qing dynasty silks and 1,000 pattern books from the last century all feature in the archive.

Started in the 1890s by the Clothworkers’ Company, the collection grew into the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive. “Over the years we’ve been given so many beautiful objects,” says bid co-ordinator Dr Michael Hann. “If our bid is successful it will help to build a magnificent facility.”

The plan is to relocate the archive to an exhibition and former storage centre in the former chapel of the Leeds Grammar School, where the material will be accessible to schools, researchers, industrialists and the public.

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