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Issue 499, 7 June 2004
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A world of textiles opens to the public

Prof Holdcroft, Dr Spiers, Prof Hann19th century Qing dynasty jacketA unique collection of international textiles dating from the 12th century to the present day opened to the public, academics and business last month.

The University of Leeds International Textiles Archive was unveiled in its new home in St Wilfred’s Chapel in Clarendon Road by Dr Fiona Spiers (pictured, centre), Yorkshire and Humberside Heritage Lottery Fund manager.

She said: “Textiles have been at the heart of Leeds through history and the collection houses pieces of aesthetic quality and great antiquity. It is very exciting and a model for the type of partnership we are trying to encourage.”

Two exhibitions celebrate the opening of the archive in its new location. ‘Threads of progress’ charts Ulita from its origins in the Yorkshire College and ‘Dragons, unicorns and phoenixes’, which is a selection of elaborate Qing dynasty silks from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The archive also has fragments of Egyptian mummy cloths, Kashmiri shawls and tens of thousands of samples collected during Yorkshire’s textile boom years.

Ulita committee chair Professor David Holdcroft (pictured, left) said: “This is a fantastic resource and unique in the UK. The archive provides a wonderful opportunity for the University to make that accessible to the public.”

Archive director Professor Michael Hann (pictured, right) said: “It’s a very exciting time for textiles at Leeds. We are in contact with embassies, industrialists and other museums with the view to extending the collection. We are also hoping to start a rolling programme of research fellows who will work with the archive and will be considering commercial opportunities to ensure the archive can become financially self-sufficient.”

Ulita’s origins are in the early years of the Yorkshire College when the department of textile industries collected pattern books and made glass plate slides of textile manufacturing processes. The archive grew over the years, and received donations of collections from all over the world.

Work has started on creating a digital archive of the collection.

Pictured above right – Han woman's jacket, Chinese, Qing dynasty, early 19th century.

See press release

Page owner: | Updated: 7/6/04


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