Black and white photograph of textiles archive room

Our cultural heritage study centre

We hold an extensive archive of textiles and related materials including fine silk jacquards, rayon, velvets, mohair and woollens and worsteds dating back from over the last 150 years.

Bradford College played a key role in the education of textile workers in the nineteenth century. We have an extraordinary range of work done by students and teachers: pattern books, designs, samples and more.

The pattern books from the industry collections offer a glimpse into the fashions of the past: the tiny calico prints of the 1780s; the largescale bright designs of the 1850s crinoline fabrics; the new colours made possible through development of the synthetic dye industry in the 19th century; the beautiful figured gauze fabrics of 1900, the development of synthetic fabrics in the early 20th century and the kitsch designs of the 1950s.

Our special collections include both the 1860s and 1870s series of The Textile Manufacture of India, French trends services Les Tissus dating from 1882, Bilbille dating from 1910 and The Americas Collection of the 1940s and 1950s in addition to industry journals: 'The Wool Record' and 'The Textile Manufacturer' from 1878.

Visit our collection

We offer visits, talks and workshops.

Our collection includes:

  • twenty-six bound volumes of 'Textile Fabrics of India', demonstrating the strong ties between the Bradford Textile industry and the Indian sub continent;
  • unique student work books dating from the mid- to late-Victorian period;
  • a comprehensive range of textbooks, journals and other printed publications; approximately 10,000 samples drawn from manufacturers pattern books including Bilbille and other international forecasting references
  • a large number of fabric sample books including the collections of Hind Robinson and Denholme Velvets
  • a collection of records, minute books, ledgers and cash books from various textile organisations. 

The archive is custodian of the archives of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, including the prestigious Turkey Red Collection.

The Archive is a valuable resource for Bradford College students and external researchers.

Find out more

For further information please call Helen Farrar, Curator at the Textile Archive on [email protected].
Follow the Textile Archive on Twitter: @BTextileArchive Or visit the Textile Archive Website.