Translate This Page
This website now provides the opportunity for visitors to read the pages in a wide range of languages, including Welsh. Where external links are provided, the output will still be in English.
We have come to the end of the 2023 season.
If you came to visit us, we hope you enjoyed it and will come again, and if you missed us, it won't be long till we open in May 2024, so plan your visit now.
In the meantime, catch up on the events of the summer.
Stop Press: We are delighted to tell you that we have been awarded Full Accreditation by Arts Council England. We were congratulated on a very strong application which was the result of a lot of hard work by all those involved with the Museum, in particular the members of the committee. This status will help us going forward, in particular with applications for grants which are vital to our future.
(For those unsure what Accreditation is all about, it means that we have been assessed against agreed standards for managing our collection properly, engaging with our visitors and being governed appropriately - all important things for running a museum well).
Laura Ashley wedding dress
The dress is vintage Laura Ashley, believed to be circa early 1980s. The sample label sewn inside shows a date of 25/7/85. It has been loaned to the Museum by Rory Evans and it is lovely to see it on display in the Amelia Ray draper's shop (even though it was made about 100 years after Amelia's shop was operating). Thanks Rory.
The dress is believed to have been a sample piece which was then put into production. As such, it was never bought by a customer or worn as a wedding dress. It was apparently displayed in the window of the Laura Ashley shop in Newtown.
Do call in to see this dress.
Summer activities in the Museum 2023
Victoria set up a wonderful program of textile-based workshops and demonstrations at the museum over the summer. Our Textile Trail quiz was back in action too.
The free Tapestry Tuesday workshops were a success again this year.
Check out the events page for workshops and courses when the 2024 program is announced.
There will also be other weaving courses – peg loom weaving with sheep fleece, hand-loom weaving on the looms in the museum, and miniature woven textiles on card that can be framed as artworks.
Weaver in Residence
Kay-lee Davies has been our weaver in residence this summer. She recently graduated from the BA Textile Design course at Carmarthen School of Art, and has been developing new designs in wool which are intended to be for menswear. The "Canterbury' loom that we use for demonstrations wasn't working very well when she arrived, so she set about replacing the old strings on the loom with new stronger ones, and it is now operating more smoothly. She also enjoyed chatting to visitors and explaining the different processes involved in weaving fabric. Thanks Kay-lee!
Cynefin Creative Writing Project
Local secondary school pupils attended 4 half day workshops in June/July with poet Mari Ellis Dunning. The pupils explored the museum, before completing their writing projects on the top floor of the museum. This project was fully funded by the Laura Ashley Family Foundation.
Museum Crush - It was great to be included in the May edition of Museum Crush, the online digest of exhibitions in Britain run by Culture24. You can read the article, written by our curator John Evans, in the edition found on this link.
New feature in 2023
John Owen, Victorian Photographer
Recently the Museum has acquired a collection of photographs taken by John Owen of Newtown. He had a studio in Broad Street for about 40 years, and many Newtonians took advantage of his business to have their portraits taken. Pryce Jones and his wife Eleanor Morris are shown in this image.
We have a new feature in the Museum this summer. A dressing-up area and photo booth. Imagine yourself living in one of our cottages - a family with lots of children for example.
Inspired by John Owen, this year visitors of all ages will be able to try on some replica Victorian clothes and photograph themselves within our atmospheric Recreated Bedroom. The fireplace setting will be styled to resemble a Victorian photography studio. We hope it will be fun and interactive, and encourage repeat visits too!
Dress up, like Jo in our picture, or as a 'grease monkey' ( as the young lads were known) One of their jobs was to light the candles each morning so the weavers could start work while it was still dark)
Join in the fun of dressing up then take away your portrait photo as a reminder of your visit and post your photos on social media with the #newtowntextilemuseum tag.
Reception and shop
The Museum has really benefitted from the new Reception and shop area that was re-developed over the winter. It would not have been possible without the help of the Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and the Ashley Family Foundation so a big thank you to them. Don't forget to check out the variety of things we have for sale when you visit. The sales support both local artisans and the Museum.
exhibition for 2023 - Amelia Ray: A Victorian Entrepreneur At The Cutting Edge',
Now that the 2023 season has ended, we have made some of the information boards available for you if you missed the Exhibition, which complement the You-Tube video available on the link below.
They feature Amelia Ray, who ran a successful draper's shop in High Street, Newtown for a decade during the 1870s where the shopping experience was changing rapidly with the coming of the railways and the postal service. We have a large collection of papers about her business which tell us about her customers and her suppliers. She was in direct competition with Pryce Jones whose shop was nearby until he moved his business to the new Royal Welsh Warehouse near the station in 1879.
To catch up on what you missed, head for the History and Education page where you can see several of our past exhibitions listed. NB these links work better if you have a full screen on your computer, or a tablet device. You will be surprised by some of the interesting jobs that a draper's shop took on at the time. We have an excellent Exhibition Guide, a few copies of which are still available if you contact us, which tells more of the story.
If you would like a short preview of the exhibition, check out this YouTube link.
the Museum shop
We now offer a range of museum souvenirs such as an illustrated guide to the museum (written by our curator), postcards, sheep toys, sheep keyrings and local history books about Newtown.
We are also very proud to be honouring our wool and hand-crafted heritage with a fabulous selection of hand-made sheep or wool themed gifts made by local artisans. We have:
- stunning felt art - large and small,
- fluffy sheep hessian shoppers & magnets,
- quilted bags, notebooks & glasses cases
- personalised local farm made woolly keyrings,
- woven wool hearts & purses made with fabric from one of the last working mills in Wales
- charming sheep greetings cards
- and much more!
We have items to suit all budgets and accept cash or card. Visitors tell us that browsing in our little shop really enhances their visit. So be sure to include time to purchase something really unique in our shop when planning your visit. All proceeds support local artisans and help to keep the museum open. If you would like to know more about our suppliers, check out their details here.
Seen us on TV, heard us on the radio? We featured in recent shows
Radio 4 visit
Stop Press: The Hidden History of the Attic . A great radio program where Rachel Hurdley discovers a part of the home full of memory, mystery and possession. On 23 April, the Textile Museum was one of the interesting segments of this fascinating story. Make sure you catch up with the radio programme on the link given, if you missed it at the time. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001l8yv
filming at the Museum
Last year the Museum welcomed a film crew from S4C's 'Cynefin' programme. It is great that so many film crews have come to our museum over the last few years, and we look forward to this particular programme which will be broadcast in Spring 2023. They filmed on the Loom Floor, and in the Draper's shop. They also featured our recreated 'Euklisia rug', the world's first sleeping bag patented by Pryce Jones for sale to the Russian army in 1865. Jane Beck made our replica, which is great to have at the Museum. We will let you know when we have a date for the film to be shown.
TV shows from 2021
In 2021 the Museum played host to a film crew from Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. It was a long day for the TV crew and for our Curator, John, and student Emily who were assisting, but the results are still available for you to see.
The program went to air on BBC Two on Thursday 25 November 2021. It is episode 10 of Series 10. Stand-up comedian Zoe Lyons was joined by radio DJ Noreen Khan in this popular show. If you missed it, you can catch up on iPlayer.
The Great British Sewing Bee segment about the Museum which went to air in May 2021 generated a lot of interest among our visitors, and this new TV program was the same.
Review of the year 2022
If you would like a detailed account of the highlights of 2022, it is available here, or on the Policies and Downloads page. You can also find details of the previous years' activities. We would like to invite everyone who has visited in the last 6 years since we took over the Museum, to come and take another look inside the Museum which has changed a lot . We will reopen on May 2 2023 and look forward to seeing you then.
Are you a bookworm?
A recent visitor told us of a novel that referred to the flannel mills in Newtown: Not one of us by Alis Hawkins. We have started to put together a list of books which we are told feature the weaving industry in Newtown or just the life of the town which we will put on display for visitors. Check out this list for the suggestions so far:
We need help on two fronts? Have you heard or read any more books featuring Newtown and or the weaving industry in Wales. And do you have any copies which you could donate or lend to the Museum for this project. If you can help please contact Christine Davies on email@example.com She would love to hear from you.
We are always keen on recruiting additional volunteers to join our friendly team of hosts. You probably know that the Newtown Textile Museum is an independent museum, managed and run entirely by volunteers. We are enthusiastic and dedicated but we need to grow our team so we need your help. Hosts receive training and work in pairs to run the museum on the days it is open to the public. Some tasks continue over the winter when we are closed, but they are still important. If you have some time to give, maybe you could help in....
- welcoming visitors to our reception and shop
- engaging with our visitors - bringing local history to life
- assisting with our schools and group visits
- caring for our historic collection
- providing DIY skills
- looking after our building
- documenting museum artefacts
- organising events
Contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are so lucky
Emily, shown here working on a dress in our collection, was a great addition to the Museum for the summer of 2021, and she was able to spend a few weeks with us again in 2022. A student at Nottingham Trent University she is studying Costume Making and Design, and she came to gain some experience of working in a Museum. Wonderful for us, and hopefully useful for her too.
This wedding dress from 1881 that Emily is checking has a matching skirt and a cape, and as you can see, was made in Newtown. We know that Henry Morgan had a drapery store in the High Street and it was worn by Ann Rogers, but there are always lots of questions in Museums and we would love to know more. It would be great if you could share any information with us.
The dress is not on display at the Museum at the moment as it needs some conservation work first, and we must find the funds to pay for it.