From its foundation in 1975 to its closure in 2009 the Textile Conservation Centre offered a commercial conservation service for museums, institutions and private clients in the UK and abroad and during that time over 10,000 objects were conserved. This represents a major contribution to the care of the UK's textile heritage and has ensured that many thousands of objects have been preserved for current and future generations to enjoy.
The TCC's commercial work was undertaken by trained and experienced conservators and their work added huge richness to the students' learning environment. Students could visit the Conservation Services workrooms, discuss treatments with the conservators and observe major and complex conservation projects in progress. Our commercial work also provided the inspiration and 'raw material' for many TCC research projects. From 1999, with our purpose-designed building and impressive analytical and other facilities, even larger and more complex projects were undertaken, including the treatment of the foretopsail from HMS Victory and conservation of a large collection of mid-19th century theatre scenery from Normansfield (a project which was shortlisted for the Conservation Award 2005).
The range of objects we have treated is immense, to give just a few examples:
- archaeological textiles from Masada (Israel), Southampton, Canterbury and Worcester Cathedrals.
- trades union banners for many current and former unions including: ASLEF, ISTC/Community, Unite.
- barge streamers, tapestries and other textiles for many livery companies including the Clothworkers, Mercers, Goldsmiths and Vintners
- many items of costume including items worn by Jane Austen, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jeremy Bentham, King George V and Queen Mary, George Mallory, Marlene Dietrich, Ginger Rogers, Freddie Mercury.
- tapestries from National Trust properties (Cotehele, Hardwick, Powis Castle and many others), English Heritage (Audley End, Rangers House), the V&A and many other country houses and museums.
- Modern materials including high altitude flying suits from the Science Museum.
- Upholstered furniture from the Wallace Collection, Corsham Court, the Geffrye Museum and private collections in the UK and USA.
The list is endless, so to show you a few highlights of our work we have put togther several slide presentations which we hope you enjoy.
We would like to thank all of our clients - museums, institutions and private individuals - it has been a privilege to help you care for your textiles and so make them accessible for future generations.