Museums, Heritage Centres, Mills & Places of Interest
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.
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Links checked and updated November 2015
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.
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.
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.
We also sell lightweight travel rugs, throws, bedspreads, blankets, shawls, scarves etc. We have free tours around the mill (demonstrations by appointment only), a large craft shop, picnic area, parking for cars, minibuses and coaches, and toilet. Workshop access suitable for disabled access. A selection of well-designed Welsh products at prices from 50p is also available in our shop.
The museum displays an era of the dales way of life and traditions long gone including knitting.
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.
• Soak up the atmosphere of the historic mills and witness original machinery at work.
• Follow a journey to discover how raw wool and cotton were transformed into yarn, ready to be woven into cloth
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.
New Lanark Visitor Centre South Lanarkshire, Scotland, ML11 9DBThe award-winning New Lanark Visitor Centre tells the fascinating story of the cotton mill village of New Lanark which was founded in the 18th century.New Lanark quickly became known under the enlightened management of social pioneer, Robert Owen. He provided decent homes, fair wages, free health care, a new education system for villagers and the first workplace nursery school in the world! Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, New Lanark has been beautifully restored as a living community, which welcomes visitors from all over the world. Travel back in time on the Annie Mcleod Experience dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820.
Newtown Textile Museum 5-7 Commercial Street, Newtown Powys, SY16 2BL Mid-WalesThe Newtown Textile Museum is a great example of buildings erected in the area during the boom of the Flannel weaving industry. We want to show not only the process of fleece to cloth but the lives of the people that lived and worked in the area contributing to the History of Newtown. Please come and visit. We welcome your stories of family or ancestors who worked and lived here. See also the facebook group
Rock Mill Capel Dewi is north of Llanfihangel-ar-arth and south of Rhydowen. Sat Nav Postcode: SA44 4PH
Steeped in history & tradition, Rock Mill nestles in the heart of West Wales. On the very borders of Ceredigion & Carmarthenshire. This picturesque Nineteenth Century stone mill was built by the present owners great grandfather, John Morgan. Perched on the banks of the Clettwr river. The last continuously water driven woollen mill in Wales. Four generations of the Morgan family have worked this mill, producing pure wool Welsh blankets, shawls & throws and of course the iconic Welsh tapestry bedcover. Using traditional methods & skills passed down through the generations. It is little changed since the Nineteenth century; Stone built with low ceilings & flag stone floors. Built on two levels and served by the impressive overshot water wheel.
Donald Morgan uses traditional methods passed down through his family and the mill is open to visitors for a small charge.
This little gem on the main A76 road to Ayr from Dumfries is the place to go if the famous gloves are your interest. Plenty also to keep the rest of the family entertained while you enjoy the knitting artefacts. There are many examples of the Sanquhar Glove on display, together with, probably, all the old patterns ever printed on the subject. Socks and other items, as well as needles make up this comprehensive display. All the old patterns, pheasants eye, fleur de lys, to name but two are on display, together with knitted samplers of the patterns. In 1998, as the result of a competition entry by the Mennock SWRI, there is a cross stitch wall hanging displayed in the museum. It shows the history and features of Sanquhar, the borders of the panel is made up of all the known Sanquhar knitting patterns, worked in cross stitch. Free entry.
With the world’s largest private collection of Sheep, visitors get the unique opportunity to meet over 50 different breeds – some closer to extinction than the giant panda!
Home spinners will find an extensive range of coloured fleeces.
Exhibits include Sheringham ganseys (Fisherman's sweaters) and needlework pictures by John Craske, known as "the fisherman painter in wools". There is a quilt made by the WI showing local scenes. Examples of net making and mending and rope making are on display.
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.
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.
There are examples of Orkney wool textiles and tools used to process wool throughout the centuries.