Textiles on Film
From cotton reels to reels of film: with its restless looms, vibrant colours and rich textures, Britain's textiles industry offers cinematic pleasures by the yard.
Much of Britain's history is woven around textiles. Wool production drove UK trade from the middle ages, while it was British textiles that kickstarted the industrial revolution, with great cotton and silk mills dominating the Lancashire landscape. Well into the 20th century Britain's textile industry was a world giant, though competition, changing technologies and new synthetic fabrics all left their mark. This collection of films, spanning almost a century, charts those changes and explores the endlessly versatile uses of textiles, offering potent history, visual splendour, glamour and, yes, just a hint of kitsch.
Home movie193720 minsSilent Location: Llangollen
Nellie Boote's laundry in Market Street in operation, the women dashing away with all manner of smoothing irons as clothes are sorted, mended, washed, ironed and sorted again.
Documentary196524 mins Location: Langley Mill
A mile of yarn and a million loops to make one stocking: the culmination of a four hundred year old craft.
News19676 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Fashion doesnt grow on treesor does it! Tyne Tees TV was bang on-trend with this brilliant news feature on the hip 1960s cult for a disposable age - paper fashion.
Industry sponsored film197123 mins Location: Greengates
Twisted yarns and empty spindles, everything from Bouclé to Slub yarn, from beginning to end, and all, in the end, displayed on a ‘normal’ model in typical 1970s fashion.
Promotional192521 minsSilent Location: Werneth
The manufacture of textile machinery in Oldham - men make the machines that produce the cloth.
Industry sponsored film196621 mins Location: Sherwood
From socks and vests to fancy knitted sportswear, Meridian Ltd aim to clothe the nation from the region where the industry was born.
Non-Fiction19764 mins Location: Chilwell
The dawn of the Industrial Revolution lives on in Nottinghamshire. Ancient hand knitting machines produce lace work that cannot be matched by twentieth century automation.
Workers Leaving Textile Factory in Patricroft (1901)Workers Leaving Textile Factory in Patricroft (1901)
Grinning textile workers head through the factory gates, another shift completed.
Documentary197824 mins Location: Durham
The warp, the weft, and a good old yarn! Hugh Mackays display an explosion of colourful 1970s carpet designs in Durham.
Training film/TV programme197218 mins
Are you being served? A bewildered shop girl gets a boutique introduction to an innovative fabric.
Promotional196118 mins Location: Leek
Have you ever wondered how dad's distinctive cardigan was made? This colourful industrial film shows how the Co-op's Nelson Mills in Staffordshire does it.
Documentary197526 mins Location: Ruddington
The industrial Midlands pioneered textile production; from the framework knitters of Nottinghamshire to the birth of the modern factory in the Derwent valley in Derbyshire.
Non-Fiction19812 mins Location: Nottingham
This 'Buy British' clothing campaign is more than patriotism, it's the last line of defence for an industry facing extinction.
Cinemagazine197115 minsSilent Location: Westminster
A Ghanaian fashion student and a Nigerian squash player are among the Africans making a life in 70s Britain in this edition of the magazine show.
Industry sponsored film191915 minsSilent Location: Witney
Blanket advertising in this promotional film for Witney's celebrated woollen ware.
Two Lancashire Cotton Workers Discuss SafeguardingTwo Lancashire Cotton Workers Discuss Safeguarding
Party political broadcast19358 mins Location: Oldham
Not a politician in sight in this clever Conservative election campaign film.
Documentary197113 minsSilent Location: Chadderton
A close look at the spinning mule - a vital cog in the workings of the Lancashire cotton industry.
Women wear the trousers: sample the latest Parisian couture with this pretty stencil-coloured piece from Eve's Film Review.
Industry sponsored film195433 minsSilent Location: Ilkeston
With nails filed smooth to avoid snagging, the expert staff of this Derbyshire nylons firm are even ready to tackle the mystery of the seamed seamless stocking.
Co-operative Wholesale Clothing Factory in Manchester (c.1900)Co-operative Wholesale Clothing Factory in Manchester (c.1900)
Non-Fiction19002 minsSilent Location: Manchester
Victorian Manchester mill workers enjoy the novelty of a moving picture camera.
Non-Fiction19221 minsSilent Location: Chiswick
Wonderful film of seven women parading the latest in 1920s beachwear, including a stylish hat that can be worn while diving, at Chiswick outdoor pool.
News19705 mins Location: Truro
Truro treated to models displaying the fashion of the age and a fashionista discusses the latest 1970s trends.
Cinemagazine196614 mins Location: Fulham
Swinging 60s meets capital of cool in a fun and funky TV magazine show aimed at Canadian audiences.
Industry sponsored film194626 mins Location: Shaw
A passionate post-war plea for workers to return to the cotton industry after decades of decline, framed as an argument between father and daughters.
Workpeople from Messrs Mayall's Mills Emerging on Queen Street, Mossley (1900)Workpeople from Messrs Mayall's Mills Emerging on Queen Street, Mossley (1900)
Non-Fiction19002 minsSilent Location: Mossley
Victorian textile workers at a mill near Manchester
Animation & Artists Moving Image196812 mins
It’s the 60s – what better way to sell wool than animating a spurious fable about a mile-high naked princess?
A thoroughly engrossing 1920s guide to the making of woollen undies – and a tongue-in-cheek demo of why pre-shrunk are best.
Industry sponsored film195920 mins
50s fashion meets carpet kitsch in a futuristic fantasy of domestic bliss - courtesy of versatile, magical Bri-Nylon.
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Nelson
Lively Lancashire millworkers, including young boys and girls, at the mill gates.
Workpeople and Girls Leaving Thos. Adams Factory, Nottingham (1900)Workpeople and Girls Leaving Thos. Adams Factory, Nottingham (1900)
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Nottingham
The hustle and bustle of Edwardian lace-workers heading home after a morning shift.
Non-Fiction19334 mins Location: Macclesfield
The annual ceremony around the coronation of Macclesfield's silk queen will worm its way into your heart.
193326 minsSilent Location: Scissett
A fascinating journey around the entire process of a typical 1930s textile mill, with young women workers, all sporting the same hairstyles, labouring at hypnotic machines.
Documentary197216 mins Location: Cressbrook
With a leaking roof and flaking brickwork Cressbrook's 18th century textile mill is crumbling into the Derbyshire countryside.
Cinemagazine196614 mins Location: Sevenoaks
If your interests happen to include rainwear, concrete in Africa, science in Sevenoaks, and gbedu drum music, then this is your lucky day...
Workforce at Horrocks Miller & Co. Preston (c.1901)Workforce at Horrocks Miller & Co. Preston (c.1901)
Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Preston
A vibrant impression of dinner hour at an Edwardian cotton mill.
Non-Fiction192222 minsSilent Location: Preston
A tour of cotton production at a Preston mill - for the benefit of the future George VI
Documentary196325 mins Location: Kidderminster
Unable to tell a Wilton from an Axminster? Baffled by your shags, yarns and hanks? Help is at hand with this in-depth guide to Kidderminster's carpet industry.
Workforce Leaving Cartwright & Warner Hosiery Works, Loughborough (1900)Workforce Leaving Cartwright & Warner Hosiery Works, Loughborough (1900)
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Loughborough
Victorian women workers (and a few men) hasten through the gates of the hosiery works after their shift.
Promotional195518 mins Location: Nottingham
Jacquards, bobbins, warp and looms: Holmes and Baxter Limited of Nottingham demonstrate the intricate art of the lace factory.
Documentary197828 mins Location: Bradford
For the very last time Albert, at 73, makes the work of weaving the large willow bobbin baskets, skeps, look easy, having devoted his entire working life to perfecting his art.
A cartoon fantasy brings fabric patterns to life in a literal soap opera - yet even here the reality of Home Front life creeps in
News19801 mins Location: Plymouth
Ladybird is best, the 20th century's leading children’s brand
Employees Leaving Baxter's Jute Works, Dundee (1901)Employees Leaving Baxter's Jute Works, Dundee (1901)
Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Dundee
Edwardian textile workers leave a Dundee mill.
Industry sponsored film196213 mins Location: Daybrook
Daybrook Laundry in Nottingham has turned a dull job into an art-form of washing, pressing, folding and sorting. Who needs one of those new fangled home washing machines anyway?
Current affairs198038 mins Location: Elland
An intriguing insight into the extraordinary life of Lord Kagan, Jewish escapee from the Nazis, clothier to the Royals, and close friend of Harold Wilson and KGB spy Vaygauskas.
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Stockport
Spinners and weavers jostle through the exit of one of Stockport’s largest textile mills.
Home movie19698 minsSilent Location: Llanrwst
Llanrwst show is full of wool related activities that include shearing, spinning and a fashion show where the garments are all made of wool.
Promotional19307 minsSilent Location: Manchester
Let me tell you a secret - how a friend's advice on shopping wisely restores harmony in the family home.
Industry sponsored film195030 minsSilent Location: Elland
A bright future seems to be looming as the mule spun woollen yarns are warped and wefted on the shuttle, while the women mill workers scuttle between machines with baskets of cones.
Industry sponsored film196517 mins Location: Halifax
The lesson here is clear, do the right things in the workplace – wear totectors and Rozalex barrier cream – and all will be well, and if not there is a nurse on hand with a plaster.
School programme and Educational film197825 mins Location: Leeds
Students at Leeds are taken from the wool on the back of sheep on the Yorkshire moors to pyjamas in Marks and Spencer’s, learning everything that happens in between.
Industry sponsored film195531 mins Location: Manningham
Fabrics galore burst into a Britain just recovering from war rationing, with mohair velvets, moth protected carpets and waterproofed textiles adorning London Routemasters.
Documentary195119 mins Location: Bolton
"Never let it be forgotten - what the country owes to cotton!" How a quality product and a happy workforce can enhance national wellbeing.
Promotional19535 mins Location: Manchester
"Washes like linen, wears like hide". What is it? Linenide, of course. Find out more here.
Mill Workers Leaving Oldroyd & Sons Mill, Dewsbury (1900)Mill Workers Leaving Oldroyd & Sons Mill, Dewsbury (1900)
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Dewsbury
Workers of all ages depart Oldroyd's wool mill – and the filmmakers' camera is a subject of curiosity.
Coloured Woven Cloth Production by Barden Mill Co., (Burnley) LtdColoured Woven Cloth Production by Barden Mill Co., (Burnley) Ltd
Documentary194926 minsSilent Location: Burnley
Warp twisting and high speed pirn winding? Come inside a Lancashire mill to find out more.
Documentary195222 minsSilent Location: Helmshore
Analysis through action - the testing of textile machinery in the mill.
Animation & Artists Moving Image19451 mins
A wartime family look on in amazement as their old clothes offer useful advice on how to make their clothing coupons go further.
195317 minsSilent Location: Pudsey
The extended family of an affluent woollen manufacturer from Yorkshire enjoy their pastimes, at home and at the seaside, while those who work in the mills enjoy a coach trip out.
Documentary198725 mins Location: Nottingham
"Fit for an Earl is the graceful Nottingham girl." But will they grace the city's textiles factories for much longer and what future is there for the city built on the work of women?
Interest film192614 minsSilent
Fashion tips for skinflint flappers and other invaluable stratagems, brought to you by 1920s cinemagazine Hints and Hobbies.
Magazine and Review show192612 minsSilent
Who needs an iron when you have a jam jar to hand? The Hints and Hobbies team return for the last surviving edition of the weekly cinemagazine.
Home movie19584 minsSilent
Men at work in the Afon Leather Ltd tannery in Llanelli that produced leather for the fashion trade during the 1960s/70s.
Training film/TV programme195315 mins Location: Manchester
"Quality maintained means orders gained" - how good practice in the cotton industry benefits everyone.
Sponsored film19571 minsSilent Location: Belfast
Enter a giant of the Belfast linen industry and get a joyful glimpse of workers in this bustling York Street mill.
Documentary197315 mins Location: Tal-y-bont
The Leri river fuels the Lerry Tweed mills’ machinery and provides excellent water for the making of tweed, woven by hand at these mills in Tal-y-bont, Ceredigion.
A visit to Rock Mill, a woollen mill on the banks of the river Clettwr at Capel Dewi near Llandysul, in the heart of west Wales, where a father and son carry on the family business.
Documentary197515 mins Location: Clacton-On-Sea
School uniforms needn't be dull and uncomfortable thanks to man-made, revolutionary thread Crimplene.
Non-Fiction19301 minsSilent Location: Manchester
Get the speeches over with, we want the fashion show! Lancashire Cotton Fair opens in Manchester
The Different Processes of Manufacturing Carpets at William C. G Ray & Sons' Factory, Ayr, ScotlandThe Different Processes of Manufacturing Carpets at William C. G Ray & Sons' Factory, Ayr, Scotland
Non-Fiction192014 minsSilent Location: Ayr
Spinning a yarn: an eye-opening tour behind the scenes at a top carpet manufacturer
Party political broadcast193110 mins
A heated canteen discussion segues from football to trade tariffs in this Conservative campaign film
News19764 mins Location: Castle Hedingham
Redundant weaver continues the traditions of the East Anglian silk industry, opening a new factory in Castle Hedingham, Essex.
Messrs. Barlow and Jones Ltd., Manchester and BoltonMessrs. Barlow and Jones Ltd., Manchester and Bolton
Promotional191919 minsSilent Location: Bolton
From raw resource to finished product, by cleaning and spinning, weaving and bleaching - take a look at the textile industry from the inside.
Sue Prichard: Textiles on Film
Former V&A curator and current Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at Royal Museums Greenwich, Sue Prichard, unravels some key works from our Textiles on Film collection.