There are a number of Museums, Heritage Centres and other places of interest related to the UK's wool and wool textile heritage and current craft & industry.
If you know of any, please let me know so they can be added to the list.
For now, I'm just going to list them all alphabetically. Later it may be obvious that they can be grouped into categories.
The Wool Directory has a long list of Wool Mills and Museums
including collections of textile machinery and historical and archaelogical sites of the British wool and textile industries.
Many of these are run by volunteers and enthusiasts, many are large industrial sites and others are collections of important textile history. Some are even cotton or silk mills! All offer the opportunity to explore the process of fibre to cloth and the lives of textile workers.
Working Georgian Mill with exhibits, workshops, tours, mill shop
Welcome to Coldharbour Mill, a 200 year old spinning mill set in the tranquil Devon village of Uffculme. Built by Thomas Fox to spin woollen and later worsted yarns in 1799, Coldharbour Mill is a rare example of surviving Georgian architecture, industry and enterprise.
Since reopening as a museum in 1982 the mill has continued to produce high quality worsted knitting yarn on its period machinery. Take a fascinating factory tour to understand how the hand processes of spinning and weaving are performed on machines and the role of Thomas Fox in bringing these new inventions into the South West. Learn about Victorian mill conditions and how Quaker attitudes influenced the treatment and welfare of mill employees, many of whom were children.
Textile museum & mill, shops, galleries, exhibitions.
“Half the wealth of England rides on the back of the sheep.”
The history of the Cotswolds is a story of sheep’s wool and limestone.
For 500 years the sheep created the rolling Cotswold landscape, and money from the wool enabled the building of the mellow limestone churches, manor houses and Cotswold cottages we love so well. Generations of shepherds, wool merchants, weavers, quarrymen and stonemasons have all made their mark on this land, and, here in Filkins, Cotswold Woollen Weavers continues in this ancient tradition.
Cotswold Woollen Weavers has been in Filkins designing and making fine woollen cloth since 1982. We live and breathe the wool heritage that made the Cotswolds, and draw our inspiration from the soft colours of the Cotswold landscape all around us.
Founded by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby, writers of ‘The Old Hand-Knitters of the Dales’.
Housed in the former Hawes Railway station and more recently extended to include a purpose built museum complex, including circular exhibition/lecture theatre.
The museum displays an era of the dales way of life and traditions long gone including knitting.
At one time on the Gower sheep were a major source of fleece for the local industry and many farms had facilities for washing sheep prior to shearing.
The Woollen Mill is open 7 days a week with free carding and spinning facilities to 'have a go', we also have a dedicated Weaver/Spinner and Designer/Maker who is responsible for demonstrating as well as running courses, giving talks, and co-ordinating educational visits from primary level right up to University level.
Mill & Textile Gallery showing whole process from fleece to fabric.
Wool was historically the most important and widespread of Wales's industries.
The picturesque village of Dre-fach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry, earning the nickname 'The Huddersfield of Wales'.
Shirts and shawls, blankets and bedcovers, woollen stockings and socks were all made here, and sold in the surrounding countryside - and to the rest of the world.
Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the National Wool Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell. Re-opened in 2004 following major re-development, this flagship museum is a new and exciting place to visit with something for everyone to enjoy.
In the 19th century textiles became a commercial force in Shetland, enabling women to support family incomes. Because of this, islanders developed new products, and adopted imported tools and techniques to do the job. Our collection encompasses changes in style through the 20th century and beyond.
Fine lace was a prestigious product that made Shetland’s knitters renowned. The museum’s shawls and stoles are perhaps the most intricate garments you will ever see. Wealthy buyers in Britain valued these in the 19th century, including the aristocracy and royalty.
Fair Isle knitwear is the most famous product of these islands. However, many people might not know what “real” Fair Isle is. Our collection has examples, from pre-commercial garments c.1870, to the ever-changing fashion item of the 20th century. The museum has samples from knitwear’s sudden popularity in the 1920s, through later style changes, to machine-made items from the 1960s. Besides clothing, we hold textile tools, like equipment for dyeing, knitting and finishing.
Commercial weaving developed in Shetland by 1900. We have equipment from all stages of commercial weaving – washing, carding, weaving, quality control, record-keeping, marketing, export. Largest are two weaving looms, and most cosmopolitan are trade labels from all over the world.
Independent community museum dedicated to Shetland’s textile cultures and heritage.
Shetland Textile Museum is a community museum in Shetland – the only one of its kind dedicated to the islands’ textile heritage. Housed at the Böd of Gremista on Lerwick’s waterfront, the collection comprises over 500 knitted and woven items dating from the nineteenth century to the present day. Temporary exhibitions show pieces from new designers, and regular demonstrations of spinning and knitting make the STM a vibrant centre of Shetland’s textile culture and heritage.
The oldest working Woollen Mill in Pembrokeshire, Solva is now the only mill in Wales specialising in flat weave carpets, rugs and runners. This family business with over 100 years weaving expertise uses traditional skills and 19th century looms to create beautiful flooring to suit any interior. Recent commissions include rugs for Llwynywormwood, Prince Charles’ Welsh residence, historic reproduction flooring for stately homes in USA and we are pleased to have been a supplier of rugs to The Landmark Trust properties for many years. Visitors are welcome to watch the looms at work and browse in the mill shop. If you can't visit us in person we have an online shop and are always pleased to answer any questions you may have
Weaving Shed and Mills to visit
The Stroudwater Textile Trust was established in 1999 as successor to the Friends of Stroud Museum Textile Group. A group of local people wanted to promote awareness of the past importance of the woollen industry in the Stroud Valleys and to celebrate contemporary textiles.
Exhibits include knitting sticks.
The Swaledale Museum is an independent Museum run by volunteers with the aims of collecting, displaying and making publicly accessible the local heritage of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.
At The Cambrian, one can take a guided tour outlining the entire process involved in the production of the fine woollen tweed manufactured and produced at the mill, from the shearing of the sheep, through the cleaning and spinning of the wool, to weaving and final processing.
A fabulous state-of-the-art exposition takes visitors through 700 years of weaving history in “The Wonderful World of Welsh Wool”. After your tour, browse in our gift shop where you can buy garments produced using the Mill's 100% pure Welsh woollen tweed and other interesting local produce, or stop for sustenance in our cosy restaurant. A recent addition to the exhibition is a crafts studio and gallery where visitors are free to peruse a wide range of craft items.
The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day.
There are examples of Orkney wool textiles and tools used to process wool throughout the centuries.
Tuckers Hall is the home of the Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers & Shearmen and both the Hall and the incorporation have a remarkable story with a glorious and continuous history since 1471.
Tuckers Hall is one of Exeter's most significant historic buildings. In the Upper Hall see the wonderful barrel-vaulted ceiling, wood panelling and carvings. On the ground floor learn more about Exeter's historical woollen cloth trade in our purpose-built interpretation centre, which includes interactive screens, information panels and a reconstruction of a fulling mill.
In our collection we specialise in Unst's unique heritage.
In the collection there are many rare fine LACE articles. The Heritage Centre is fortunate in having one the best collections in the country. A cache of fine lace garments, over 100 years old, was found and kindly donated to the Centre. The items were very fragile but fortunately Unst still has ladies with the skill to replicate these garments and rescue long lost lace patterns.