Demob suit’s a perfect fit for museum’s Wool Week celebrations
A stylish modern tribute to Leeds’s rich textile heritage has a new home at what was once the world’s largest woollen mill.
The recreation of a classic Burtons demob suit from 1945 was installed at Leeds Industrial Museum earlier this week as part of an annual celebration of all things wool.
The suit was created through an innovative project between Leeds Industrial Museum and Yorkshire Textiles, who together launched their own bespoke cloth last year- a luxurious eco British wool yarn developed by Laxtons of Guiseley in Leeds and made using the museum's looms.
Specialists working with the cloth to make the new suit were inspired by the dapper original, which is already on display in the museum’s Tailoring Gallery.
Experts who worked on the project included master weaver Greg Kotovs, bespoke tailors Carl Stuart of Ossett and leading textile finishers WT Johnsons.
Sarah Barton, keeper at Leeds Industrial Museum said: “It’s been really exciting to see the suit taking shape and the finished result looks amazing, particularly in the historic setting of the old mill.
“The suit is a perfect tribute to the city’s textile heritage, which stretches back hundreds of years, but also to the knowledge and expertise of the modern specialists who have worked so hard to make this project happen.”
Demob suits were a suit of civilian clothes given to a man on his demobilisation from the British armed forces at the end of the Second World War.
The suit project is part of the museum’s celebrations for Wool Week, which runs from October 5-11 and will see a series of events and activities taking place at the museum.
Suzy Shepherd of Yorkshire Textiles said:
“Wool week is the perfect time to celebrate the eco cloth being produced as part of this on-going project. We have been producing cloth for just over a year and are currently developing a range of products using this weave and others.
“This suit is one example and we have had fantastic interest from people keen to know more about the regions textiles. We’ve also had a great response from people buying items at the gallery shop on the Headrow and we hope to be extending the availability soon.”
Highlights at the museum during Wool Week will include crafts by The Spinners of Aire on Wednesday from 10.30am to 2pm, a behind-the-scenes tour on Wednesday at 2pm and a Knit and Natter group on Saturday from 1pm to 4pm.
A knitting workshop also takes place Saturday from 1pm to 4pm which costs £22 and must be booked in advance on 0113 378 3173.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:
“It’s fantastic to see so much effort and expertise going into celebrating what is a key part of our city’s industrial heritage.
“The textile industry was once one of the cornerstones of the Leeds economy and it’s important that we recognise and celebrate the huge impact it had on the city and its people.
“It’s also important that we celebrate the expertise that still thrives in the city today and which has seen the creation of this stylish suit.”
Leeds Industrial Museum is housed in what was once the world's largest woollen mill and gives visitors a chance to learn about the industrial history of Leeds from manufacturing textiles and clothing to printing, engineering and locomotives.
For more information about Leeds Industrial Museum please visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/armleymills
The museum will also be hosting Leeds Wool Festival next year on Saturday, June 4. For more information, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/woolfestival