Worldwide Impact of Stroud Cloth

Worldwide Impact of Stroud Cloth

To help tell the story of the worldwide impact of Stroud Cloth the Museum has recently borrowed a pair of Burmese Leggings from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

 

11.09.2016

Just like today, Stroud district based businesses of the past had a big role to play in the financial and social economy of the world.  To help tell this story, the Museum has recently borrowed a pair of Burmese Leggings from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter.

The leggings were made by the Akha people, probably in the early 1900s, who lived in the Thai border region of Burma. Stroud Scarlet woollen cloth has been used in the appliqué* decoration of the leggings and are displayed as they would have been worn around the legs.

The Burmese leggings on display reflect how communities around the world have used European-made woollen cloth in the making and decorating of clothing and other items.

Fern Ryan, Collections Assistant, said 'I'd encourage visitors to see these wonderfully detailed leggings and reflect on the global reach of Stroud cloth'.

From the Middle Ages, British wool was the foundation upon which domestic and foreign trade developed and flourished. Mills in the Stroud valleys produced high quality broadcloths, renowned for their colour, particularly ‘Stroudwater scarlet’. Cloths were imported to America by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which traded with Native Americans in the north of the country from the 1700s. The British East India Company, traded widely in Asia from the late 17th century. The East India Company sustained the Gloucestershire broadcloth industry, as others declined in the late 18th century, in the face of competition from the modern Yorkshire mills.

The indigenous communities trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company and the East India Company adapted the cloth and integrated it into their own traditions of material culture.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see the leggings on display.

Please visit this page to find out more about the Museum Collections.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Photograph shows the leggings during preparation for display.

*appliqué: ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck on to a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.

 

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