I was lucky enough recently to travel to London for the day to visit the V&A Museum. They have an amazing array of textile exhibits from all periods of history and all parts of the World. The Tudor and Stuart pieces of Goldwork and Stumpwork embroidery are breathtaking.  However, if the V&A is a little too far away we have our own superb museum on our doorstep!

Bankfield Museum in Akroyden, Boothtown is one of Halifax’s secret gems. It was originally the family home of Edward Akroyd, born in 1810. He inherited the family business, Akroyd and Son, which was the country’s largest worsted textile producing company.

The museum opened in 1887 and is home to the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum, local history, art, costume and textiles. There are two changing exhibition galleries and an award-winning First World War exhibition. It is also home to Akroyd Library. The King and Country WW1 exhibition closes on 22nd December 2018. This floor is then due to become the Fashion Gallery from May 2019 when it will be displaying many items from the museum’s collection . This promises to be an exciting exhibition !

There are many textile pieces currently on display at Bankfield. Some of my favourites are from the Edith Durham collection in the newly renovated Oak Gallery. Mary Edith Durham was an anthropologist who travelled extensively during the early 20th century. She particularly focussed on Albania, working with relief organisations, whilst painting, writing and collecting folklore and folk art. In 1935 she donated her diaries plus her collections of Balkan costume and jewellery to Bankfield Museum. Currently on display are beautifully embroidered items such as a ‘jelek’ – a short waistcoat or bodice, and socks, along with one of Edith’s scrapbooks.

The main exhibition in the Link Gallery is ‘Shoes’. This celebrates the history of shoes and stories about the people who wore them. Some of my favourites in this exhibition include the pale blue silk brocade shoes from 1740 which are embroidered with silver wire and sequins, the Turkish shoes with their curled up toes, the beautifully beaded doeskin moccasins from Hudson’s Bay, Canada, 1865 and the amazing red glittery super high platform boots belonging to Brighouse’s own Divina De Campo !

This exhibition is on until 17th November this year.

Along with all this the North Gallery has an exhibition called ‘Sweets’ which includes a dress from 1936 made of Quality Street paper bags, and the Calderdale Open Art Exhibition and Bankfield’s Christmas Fair are events to look forward to later this year!

I run a wide variety of textile courses from my studio in Croft Myl, Halifax. Many of which are suitable for beginners and those with more experience. They costs £45 which includes all materials and tuition plus morning coffee, lunch, tea and cake. Courses can also be arranged to suit you, for groups of between 2-12 people.

Have a look at my website to see the list of courses I run. www.RaggedyAnnie.co.uk. To book on any of these email me on [email protected] or get in touch via Facebook www.facebook.com/annie.lancaster.948

Editors Comments: Many thanks to Raggedy Annie for producing the articles for the last 12 months. They’ve made very enjoyable reading for many of our readers. Annie is having a break from producing articles for SGD but you can follow her work online or book a course!