East Midlands Oral History Archive

Textile Tales

Physical detail

  • Number of items in the collection: 55 items
  • Venues where material can be listened to: EMOHA
  • Media available on: Digital recordings

Collection history

Textile Tales documents the decline of the textile industry in the East Midlands between 1980 and 2005. In the 1980s, Marks and Spencer sourced 90% of its textiles from British Companies; by 2000 this had reduced to 40%. As a result in the decline of the textile industry, companies, along with clubs and social groups that were part of these workplaces, disappeared.

Textile Tales captures stories from people who worked in the lace, knitting and weaving, hosiery and garment making industries, shining a light on experiences, characteristic sights, sounds, humour and anecdotes. The project ran from 2019-2020. A series of roadshows captured oral histories from Belper, Borrowash, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Loughborough, Mansfield, Nottingham and Ruddington. It was led by the University of Nottingham in partnership with with a number of museums, universities, businesses and heritage organisations in the East Midlands. It was sponsored by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.

What the collection contains

Interviewees included people from the boardroom to the factory shop to the shop floor. Companies mentioned include: Beeva Garments, Charnos, Cluny Lace, Cooper & Roe, Courtaulds, G H Fletcher, Geoffrey MacPherson Ltd, Meridian Knitwear, Nylatex, Pretty Polly, Price & Finch, Speedo, Vyella and Wolsey. Topics covered include: working conditions, piece work and pay, outwork, dialect and industry-specific terminology, health and safety, unions and strikes, training, the Buy British campaigns of the 1980s, social lives and factory closures and redundancy.

This collection is not yet catalogued.

More information

Listen to extracts from interviews on the Textile Tales website.

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