The ‘River and Cloth’ project explored the history of textile manufacturing along the river Wandle in Merton and the diverse communities that have shaped this local industry over the centuries. Themes ranged from the arrival of Huguenot refugees skilled in whiting, to William Morris’s cloth-printing factory at Merton Abbey.
People across the borough took part in workshops to try their hand at traditional dyeing, stitching and printing techniques. Visits to Merton Abbey Mills, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Wandle Industrial Museum revealed the worldwide importance of Merton’s textile industry and the stories of those who helped to shape it.
Participants learned about Asian and Irish influences on local textile design, copper-plate printing and calico cloth-printing businesses. New learning resources and training for teachers and volunteers in textile processes will make sure these traditional skills remain in the community. To find out more go to the River and Cloth website.