Textile Fabrics in Huddersfield

The University is alive with conferences celebrating all things historical at the moment! This weekend is Unofficial Histories which is examining histories beyond official and elite version from the ‘text books’. In two weeks time it will be the first Huddersfield Histories festival, which is set to examine some of the big moments in local history.

You might expect us an archive to have some kind of involvement in this type of event, but unfortunately, the near constant drilling in our offices is an ever-present reminder that the new archive centre must be our all-consuming priority at the moment! It’s no small feat, and move trials have already begun!

That being said, we will have some involvement with the Schools part of the Huddersfield Histories festival. The archive will be hosting a number of local school children in examining one of our interesting textile heritage related collections, the Textile Fabrics of India. In 1866, around 20 sets of these Indian textile samples were created and gifted to UK towns with close associations to textile production. They showed examples of fabrics for garments and goods, and are as vibrant and colourful today as when they were first woven. As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Preston’s Harris Museum made scans of their volumes available online. Nine still exist at the University of Huddersfield Archives, and available to view in person by visitors. We also hold a guide to the collection, written by the man who put it together, that explains both the technical details behind the creation of the fabrics, but also photographs of Indian people wearing the final products.

We’ll be introducing the University archives to these young people and letting them handle the archive material before designing their own response to it. See below for a typical – yet beautiful – example of the types of fabrics featured in the books.