History of textiles
Scottish textile heritage
May 2004 saw the conclusion of Scottish Textile Heritage Online, a project led by Heriot-Watt University, that has been mapping Scottish textile collections in archives and museums, incorporating many descriptions included in the Archives Hub.
The Archives Hub contains descriptions of the archives of many companies, organisations, and individuals connected to the Scottish textile industry and textile arts and crafts held by Scottish Further and Higher Education archives. These include companies such as the Paisley thread manufacturers J&P Coats Ltd, Dundee jute firms such as Sidlaw Industries, and Scottish Borders tweed firms such as Blenkhorn Richardson and Bernat Klein. There are also examples of trade and employers associations such as the Govan Weavers and the National Association of Scottish Woollen Manufacturers. The records of institutions which taught, and continue to teach textiles, such as the former Scottish College of Textiles at Galashiels (now Heriot-Watt University Scottish Borders Campus) and Glasgow School of Art, along with deposited papers of their students, are also represented.
Scotland has a rich and diverse textile heritage, the evidence of which is preserved within archives and museums across the country and further afield outside the education sector. From weaving and sewing in the home, to full scale mechanized factory textile production, and needlework associations, through to textiles found on archaeological digs - these all have their part to play in documenting the industrial and social history of Scotland.
Scottish Textile Heritage Online was a ground-breaking pilot project mapping these sources to produce a searchable online database of archive and museum collections, objects, and items. Funded by the Scottish Museums Council, over 100 museums and archives are included in the database with more detailed work being undertaken in the project partner institutions of the Heriot-Watt University, the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee, Glasgow School of Art, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, and Scottish Borders Council.
The project has also developed an image gallery of over 400 textile objects and a series of online resources including short essays, bibliographies, gazetteer maps, and a glossary of Scottish textile terms.
Top right: Dress MacFarlane tartan wool plaid, photograph copyright © Heriot-Watt University Archive, Records Management and Museum Service.
These represent just some of the Scottish textile related collections featured both on the Archives Hub and in the Scottish Textile Heritage Online collections database:
- J&P Coats Ltd/Coats Viyella PLC: administrative papers of this Paisley-based multinational thread manufacturer.
- Lewis Anderson Tartan Collection: 11 volumes of tartan samples with historical notes.
- Sidlaw Industries: Dundee firm formed as a result of the amalgamation of many of the Dundee jute companies.
- Association of Jute Spinners and Manufacturers: trade association.
- William Brown (born 1791): a contemporary account of flax spinning in early 19th century Dundee.
- Anderson family: student papers of several members of the Anderson family who attended the Glasgow School of Art, including Daisy M Anderson (1910-1996).
- Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art: offered courses in printed and constructed textiles.
- Scottish Textile Heritage Online: a 'one-stop' guide to Scottish textile collections
- University of Dundee Museum Services: guide to the University's textile collections, with images
- Heriot-Watt University Archive, Records Management and Museum Service
- Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles (formerly the Scottish College of Textiles)
- Scottish Screen Archive: search for film clips on textile making [requires QuickTime]
- Paisley Museum & Art Gallery: the world's finest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books
- Whitworth Gallery: collection of modern textiles, including Donald Brothers (The University of Manchester)
- Scottish Textiles Network: textile designers, craftworkers and manufacturers in Scotland
- Scottish Borders Textiles: directory of textile manufacturers in the Scottish Borders [requires frames]
- The Textile Institute: professional institute for the textile, clothing and footwear sectors
- The Textile Society: charity for the study of textile art, design and history
May 2004: History of textiles: Scottish textile heritage.
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