EIRA project to support regional textile archive

  • Date

    Thu 11 Feb 21

A Warner and Sons employee hand-prints the ‘Directorie’ fabric at the Dartford Print Works c.1930. Image courtesy Warner Textile Archive

Regional funding for a collaborative project between Essex and the Warner Textile Archive will inform a research and digital engagement strategy that aims to make the UK’s largest publicly-owned collection from a luxury textile manufacturer more accessible.

The EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) grant will see PhD student Samantha Woodward, from the Department of History, spend three months with the Archive team to identify future research priorities.

Together, they will gain a better understanding of the history of the collection, which comprises over 100,000 items, including designs on paper, hand woven textiles, printed textiles, business records, photographs and manufacturing equipment. This will help inform the Archive’s digital engagement plans.

Sophie Jemma, Warner Textile Archivist said: “Being able to access professional academic support from the University at this stage of formulating a wider digital transformation at Warner Textile Archive is invaluable.”

Dr Andrew Priest, Head of the Department of History, said: “We’re delighted to be able to participate in this EIRA funded project, the second in the last few months to involve one of our doctoral students.

“Samantha’s work with the Archive will help to show the importance of using historical research and technology to help museums bring their holdings to wider audiences and increase commercial opportunities. It goes without saying that this work is even more vital during the present crisis, and we are very proud that one of our outstanding PhD candidates can help us contribute to this process.”

Samantha, whose PhD research focuses on the John Lewis Partnership co-ownership model, with will with the Archive team for three months.

Jeremy Davenport, EIRA Knowledge Exchange Lead added: “The Warner Textile Archive represents an extraordinary chapter in the history of textile manufacturing in Essex, reflecting exceptional creative skills and business innovation. This collaboration will support the Archive to explore new and novel ways of engaging the public, and inspire and generate real value for our wider community.”

Picture courtesy of the Warner Textile Archive: A Warner and Sons employee hand-prints the Directorie fabric at the Dartford Print Works c.1930