Clothworkers’ Centre

The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion is located at Blythe House, at Olympia in West London. The aim of the Clothworkers’ Centre is to provide the best possible access to the Museum’s outstanding collection of textiles and fashion in a relaxed and peaceful environment.

Here we will share our discoveries, star objects, news and miscellaneous goings-on.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas at Clothworkers’: Pear Wood Walking Stick

Carved ivy

Throughout December and January I’ll be posting blogs inspired by the well-known Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Each blog will focus on a V&A textiles and fashion object related to one of the twelve gifts featured in the song. And all of the objects that I’ll discuss are currently housed at the Clothworkers’ […]

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Boxing Day: Packing Deliveries from the Clothworkers’ Centre to the V&A this Winter

Tissue sausages and wads being used to preserve the shape of this mantua and fill the empty spaces surrounding it

There’s no brightly-coloured wrapping paper involved, and these parcels definitely shouldn’t be left under a tree or beside an open fire, but I can’t help but think of Christmas presents as I box up Museum objects in transit to our South Kensington site this winter. And I don’t think it’s just because I’m starting to […]

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Startled Embroidered Lions of the 1600s

Detail of an embroidered picture showing the Judgement of Solomon, 1686

As the Collections Management Assistant at the Clothworkers’ Centre, the main bulk of my job is retrieving textile and fashion objects from store for visitor appointments. It’s an odd job that takes me to every niche corner of the fashion, dress and textiles world, from patchwork quilts to Gareth Pugh, Dior to doublets. One of […]

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Street Style Shoe Shuffle

Pair of shoes, turquoise snake skin high heels, 'Spock A3', S/S 2010, Atalanta Weller, designed in Great Britain, made in Portugal, 2010.

It started so innocently, with a new shoe acquisition arriving in store and needing a home, and the simple question, “is there a specific cupboard for the 21st century shoes?” You see, the Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion has a dedicated shoe storage room, with 32 cupboards containing over 2500 […]

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Refashioned: Recycling in the V&A’s Textiles & Fashion Collection

Dress, front detail, 1840s evening dress made from 1770s Spitalfields silk brocade

This June saw the 4th annual Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Festival, a series of open events that celebrate the diverse and talented arts community living and working in the borough. Blythe House, the home of the V&A archives and storage facility, hosted a number of behind-the-scenes tours as part of the festival. This included my […]

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Home: A Loan

Recent returns L-R: Vivienne Westwood denim ensemble, 1740s embroidered mantua, and Zandra Rhodes dress

In 2015 alone, 85 items from the Textiles and Fashion Collection went on short loan to museums nationally and internationally. And to mangle the old saying, what goes out must come back. Here at The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles & Fashion, we’ve recently had a spate of returns from exhibitions around the […]

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Clothworkers’ Object Study Day, 27th May

Hanne Faurby with Eveline Gordon embroidery samples © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

At the end of May we welcomed visitors to a series of talks given at the Clothworkers’ Centre by V&A staff, the second of our Clothworkers’ study days. In these talks, we showcased some of the research that we’ve undertaken within the grand tiled walls of Blythe House. As in October, the talks were extremely […]

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Objects Alive

Object Lives scholars in the Clothworkers' Centre study room © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This morning the Clothworkers’ Centre enjoyed a visit from a group of Canadian academics, part of a research group called Object Lives, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Their aim, through the close study of objects, is to ‘assess the flow of goods into and from Northern North America’. Today’s session drew […]

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In celebration of old band t-shirts

Today is BBC 6Music’s Annual Wear Your Old Band T-shirt to Work Day. In my display on the history of the T-shirt currently in the V&A’s fashion gallery, T-shirts 101, you can see two band tees of many held in both the Textiles and Fashion collection and Theatre & Performance collection. These are a tour tee […]

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T-Shirts 101 – Part 2

It is 101 years since the T-shirt, one of the world’s most ubiquitous garments, was officially recognised as outerwear. This is the second in a short series of blog posts reflecting on the garment’s history to accompany the small display in the V&A fashion galleries, drawn from the extensive collection of T-shirts in the Textiles […]

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