Textile treasures at Worthing museum

Victorian crazy-patchwork quilt.

What a delightful morning we had at Worthing museum, enjoying a ‘show and tell’ session with Gerry Connelly, Head of Museums and Exhibitions. Gerry started his career in fashion design, before specialising in the History of Fashion. Gerry was the perfect person to show us some of the wonderful items that are owned by the museum but are not usually out on display.

Gerry started by showing us the oldest item in the collection, a blackwork jacket dating from 1610. It’s amazing that it is so well preserved.

We had a wonderful range of items to look at closely, and it’s lovely to see them without the reflections that you get when they’re behind glass. A couple of Elizabethan dress items: a fragment of embroidery that was probably originally on a jacket, and an embroidered glove that was probably given as a symbolic gift rather than for regular use, although it was interesting to see the signs of wear on the underneath.

Fragment of Elizabethan embroidery, probably from a jacket.

Elizabethan ceremonial glove with metal thread embroidery.
Detail of metal thread work on glove.

We saw a stunning embroidered waitcoat that could have come straight out of ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ story, with stitching so fine that it could well have been stitched by mice.

It was lovely to have time to study the details, and we could have happily stayed there all day.

Gerry brought out an embroidery called ‘The Warwick Street Embroidery’, which was stitched by our group in 2004. We had searched for it and no-one was sure where it was, but we were delighted to see that it is in the safe care of the museum. The embroidery was created by cutting up a historic photograph of Warwick Street, and distributing the cut-up rectangles to individual members to stitch. It was then re-assembled to re-create the picture. The names of the individual embroiderers were stitched on the back.

The Warwick Street Embroidery
The contributors to The Warwick Street Embroidery.

Lunch together afterwards was a lovely way to end the visit. Thanks to Chris for organising it all.



2 thoughts on “Textile treasures at Worthing museum”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *