There are a lot of textile events this summer and fall in
the United Kingdom. In the Travel and Traditions section of our Summer 2008 issue
we include a day by day itinerary of galleries, museums, antique shows, and markets
filled with textiles compiled by Francine Kirsch. Here we share additional U.K.
travel recommendations beyond London, also by Francine Kirsch.
Combine Brighton’s attractions with a Frock Me! vintage fashion
show (June 22, October 5, November 23 at the University of Brighton's Sally
Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., admission, www.frockmevintagefashion.com).
Don't miss the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, next to the must-see
Brighton Pavilion. The Museum has permanent fashion and design galleries plus
temporary exhibitions: The Little Black Dress until June 1, Chinoiserie in Britain
until November 2. Tuesday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Wednesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5
p.m., Sunday 2–5 p.m., free (www.brighton.virtualmuseum.info).
If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll love Bath's Fashion Museum, ensconced
in the Assembly Rooms where Regency balls were once held. Daily 11 a.m.–6
p.m., admission (www.fashionmuseum.co.uk).
Also in western England is Killerton House (in Broadclyst, Exeter),
the National Trust's own repository of costume. Check its website (www.nationaltrust.org.uk)
for opening hours, which vary by season. The Cavalcade of Costume is also
in the general area, in the quaint town of Blandford Forum (Lime Tree House, The
Plocks, Thursday–Saturday and Monday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., www.cavalcadeofcostume.com).
From September 25–28, the CreativeStitches & Hobbycrafts
show will be held in Exeter proper, at the Westpoint Centre (www.ichf.co.uk).
Take the train to Newark station to catch shuttle buses for two vast
antiques fairs. Thousands of dealers in fields and animal stalls. Not for
the fainthearted (bring food and drink—and a portable chair if possible),
but I did find the antique of my dreams there. Most practical approach: do the
Swallow show for free on Wednesday (June 4, August 6, October 8, +44 (0) 1298
between 8 a.m.–5 p.m., return via Newark station on Thursday for the expensive
dmg show (June 5, August 7, October 9) between 9 a.m.–6 p.m., (+44 (0) 1636
Birmingham's NEC , site of August's Festival of Quilts and September's
Knitting and Stitching Show, also hosts a November 13–16 multi-hall affair
combining Hobbycrafts, Art Materials, Christmas Crafts, and Cake Decoration (www.ichf.co.uk).
Whether it's August, September, or November, consider going into central Birmingham
for the Museum &Art Gallery with its renowned collection of
pre-Raphaelite paintings, excellent restaurant (Chamberlain Square, Monday–Saturday
10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 12:30–5 p.m., free, www.bmag.org.uk).
If you're visiting Greenwich for the Royal Observatory/National
Maritime Museum, take in the Fan Museum (10-12 Crooms Hill, Tuesday–Saturday
11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 12–5 p.m., admission, www.fan-museum.org).
Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery has huge collections of wallpaper
and textiles—and constantly changing exhibits (until October 12, Flights
of Fancy examines wallpaper dados). Oxford Road, Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5
p.m., Sunday 12–4 p.m., free, www.whitworth.man.ac.uk.
While the Platt Hall Gallery of Costume is closed for renovations until October,
the Manchester Art Gallery has stepped in. When I was there, it had excellent
button and art book exhibits (Mosley Street, Tuesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5
p.m., free, www.manchestergalleries.org).
Chains like Hobbycrafts, similar to our Michaels and A.C. Moore, have
branches just outside most cities and are worth checking out. Don't overlook thrift
shops—the British don't. Every charity seems to have them and, in places
like Canterbury and Eastbourne, entire streets are “devoted” to them.
If you're looking for more in-depth tours of the United Kingdom, visit our
textile tours resource page at http://www.fiberarts.com/article_archive/resources/textiletours.asp and
look for Handcrafted Holidays and the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery.