Saturday, 1 August 2009

Crisis at the Embroiderers' Guild

Although not a member myself, I was horrified to read about the situation facing the Embroiderers' Guild over at Threads across the web.

I would urge anyone who feels the same to write to your MP urgently. If you don't know who they are, or how to contact them, you can find out from the Parliament website.

I've already emailed mine. Feel free to copy the text I used below. I'm sure Carol-Anne won't mind the plagiarism under the circumstances:-

The Embroiderers' Guild was founded in 1906 by sixteen former students of the Royal School of Art Needlework to represent the interests of embroidery. The aims and objectives of the Guild

"To promote and encourage the art of embroidery and related crafts and encourage the creation of fine articles incorporating the use of or associated with embroidery.
To educate the public in the history and art of embroidery and to undertake or support research in that subject and to publish the useful results of that research.
To collect, document, preserve, exhibit and interpret, examples of fine embroidery which are of historical or educational merit and to make available to the public such articles."

In 1924 HM Queen Mary became the Guild's first Royal Patron. Most recently HRH the Duchess of Gloucester graciously became the Guild's Royal Patron in 2005, following the death of HRH the Princess Alice in October 2004. On 8th May 1964 the Guild became a Registered Charity and in 1986 Registered Museum Status was achieved in recognition of the standard of management applied to its collection embroideries. The collection is of national significance as a resource for artists and students. It consists of over 11,000 world embroideries dating from the Coptic period to the present day, and includes a major collection of British embroidery.

The Guild also has a collection of over 2,500 titles including 600 reference books available to both Embroiderers' Guild Members and the public within the library and 2,000 loan books (temporarily suspended) which provide a rich source of research material for students and members.

In 2006, a century after its founding, the Guild had over 25,000 Members and subscribers throughout the world, 236 Branches and 85 Young Embroiderers Groups for young Members aged between 5 - 18 years.

Today the Embroiderers' Guild is in crisis.

For the past 25 years the Embroiderers' Guild has been located in apartments at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey. In recent years great effort and resource was dedicated to establishing a National Embroidery and Textile Centre but following an exhaustive review of the proposed NET Centre, the Trustees established that the project posed an unacceptable risk to the long-term future of the Guild and decided to withdraw project. Vast sums of money gathered by years of fund raising were lost. The Embroiderers' Guild licence at Hampton Court is due to expire imminently. The Embroiderers' Guild, its collection and its library face the very real prospect of becoming homeless by the end of this year.

What can be done to save this priceless resource? Please would you bring this issue to the attention of the Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State at DCMS at your earliest convenience and I look forward to receiving your reply.

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