Bradford Textile Archive

Filed Under (General, Research) by elearning4bradford on 07-04-2010

I was very pleased to be invited onto the board of the Bradford Textile Archive and to be involved in its future. As a librarian it is deeply exciting to come into contact with primary source material and a professional challenge to ensure the integrity of the collection is not simply preserved but, rather more importantly, is exploited to the full for the local people and for those further afield who have a genuine interest in the collection. Moreover the technical difficulties of digitising materials that are essentially appreciated through 3D rather than 2D photography make for interesting times ahead.

No time has been wasted in getting a bid organised to a national agency for some funding to digitise the collection and that has already been submitted. Also on the international front we are developing a bid through a consortium of educational establishments including Universities from Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Japan to digitise and disseminate the collection more widely.

A brief description of the Bradford Textile Archive is reproduced here from its publicity brouchure:

The wide assortment of material comprising the Bradford College Textile Archive is symbolic of Bradford’s rich heritage and current regeneration. The collection has steadily been accumulating since the Bradford Technical School opened its doors in 1882, to deliver textiles education and training to support local industry and owes much to the support and patronage of former students of the College and also to those in the local textiles industry who have over the years generously donated materials and artefacts. The collection continues to be used by local students and in turn, they contribute examples of their own work, thus continuing to build the collection with contemporary products. Community members are continuing to donate to the archive, the most recent being costume from a member of Bradford’s German community. The Bradford College Textile Archive consists of a diverse range of textiles and related materials from fine silk jacquards, rayon, velvets, mohair and woollens and worsteds dating from over the last 150 years. The collection includes twenty-six bound volumes of Textile Fabrics of India, demonstrating the strong ties between the Bradford Textile industry and the Indian sub continent; unique student work books dating from the mid to late Victorian period; a comprehensive range of text books, journals and other printed publications; approximately 10,000 samples drawn from manufacturers pattern books including Bilbille and other international forecasting references, a large number of fabric sample books including the collections of Hind Robinson and Denholme Velvets; and a collection of records, minute books, ledgers and cash books from various textile organisations. The collection has recently been re-housed in the college building affectionally known as The Old Building which was originally built in 1882 for the “purpose of imparting to youths, artisans and others, technical and scientific, artistic and general instruction” in textile manufacturing.

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