Object Highlight #32 – Volunteers Choice

Today our Object Highlights comes to you from Pat Whitehead, one of our Collections Volunteers and a former designer for Salters Mill.

My Five Favourite Artefacts on display/store in Trowbridge Museum.

1) At the top of my list is the 4×4 Dobcross Loom. All the textile mills had some of these looms and during the working day the rhythmic racket made by these machines could be heard in Trowbridge. As a young trainee designers part of my introduction to the manufacture of cloth involved working in the Weaving Shed on this loom and as a textile designer all my designs were woven on the Dobcross. Today the modern looms and design interact with computers.

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Dobcross Loom

2)  My second choice the Teasel Gig Is possibly the oldest machine for raising the nap. Prior to the Gig the process was done by hand. The teasels are secured in a number of frames which are attached to a central frame/cylinder, the cloth is controlled by a series of rollers as it passes over the revolving central cylinder. Depending on the type of wool, design, yarn interesting effects can be achieved. Combined with a hot press,  the finished cloth can have a beautiful lustre.

front view of the teasel gig machine
Teasel Gig

3) I am passionate about dress history and the case filled with different styles of clothes through the ages are of interest. The beaded/embroidered flapper dresses are stunning but my favourite is the Victorian wedding dress. I find the construction of Victorian garments fascinating, in order to achieve the silhouette the inside of the of garment is as important as the right side. Boning, tapes sewn at the waist, cages, loops and tapes  all to achieve the look. It couldn’t have been very comfortable to wear.

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Stancomb-Fowler wedding dress

4) Taylor’s shop – pure nostalgia! I remember when l first went into the shop, l thought it was little changed from the day it opened years and years before and yet they usually had in stock exactly what you were looking for.  Untouched by modernity. I love it!

Taylors shop/Haberdashery

5) There are many interesting artefact in the Museum but for my fifth object l am returning to my textile roots. The shears are extraordinary, the size and the weight! I can’t imagine how an operative could hold them (probably with help) and cut the nap evenly yard after yard. Also l wonder what effect using these heavy shears day after day would have had on the operatives health.


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