Images from the Design Archives, Knitting Collections at University of Southampton, Museum of Design in Plastics, and University of the Arts London

Bradford College Textile Archive

The Bradford College Textile Archive has been growing since the Bradford Technical School opened in 1882 to deliver textiles education and training to support local industry. With the rapid expansion of the textile industry in the late 19th and early 20th century, demand grew such that the School moved in 1911 to a new purpose built premises, The Lister Building, where the collection was housed until recently.

The Archive consists of a diverse range of textiles and related materials including fine silk jacquards, rayon, velvets, mohair, woollens and worsteds dating from over the last 150 years. This includes 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; plus records, minute books, ledgers and cash books from various textile organisations.

Particular highlights within the collection include twenty-six bound volumes of Textile Fabrics of India, dating from 1868 which were donated by the Secretary of State for India; sample books of French velvets dating from 1860 to 1906 and rare original samples of dress fabrics designed by Salvador Dali. The collection owes much to the support of former students of the College and those in the local textiles industry who have donated items to the Archive over the years.

The Archive is currently being relocated to a new location within the 'Old Building' as the original Technical School is now known. The College would like to digitise key elements of the collections to increase access to these unique resources.

Clare Lamkin, Yorkshire Craft Centre Manager and Bradford College Arts & Cultural Events Manager -
Shelagh Ward, Arts & Cultural Projects Officer -