ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   / institutions

- Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles. (renamed AHRC on April 1st 2005)
The Centre was awarded a Resource Enhancement grant from the then Arts and Humanities Research Board 2002-2005 and is supported by Goldsmiths College, University of London.

The Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles is housed in the basement of the elaborate late Victorian Old Town Hall building in New Cross high street, SE14.

- Goldsmiths College, University of London
New Cross
London - SE14 6NW - UK

Main switchboard:
020 7919 7171
Outside UK: +44 20 7919 7171


History and Context

In March 2003 the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles opened for the first time to the public. It has attracted widespread interest from a range of artists, designers, researchers, Friends and museum curators.

The collection was originally established in the 1980’s by Audrey Walker and was named in honour of Constance Howard, former Head of Textiles at Goldsmiths College. Rich, eclectic and idiosyncratic the collection contains over 4,000 pieces of textile, some very special commissioned teaching samples, Japanese techno-fabrics, and tiny fragments of lace and embroidery. There are thousands of slides documenting the pioneering history of textiles at Goldsmiths College from the late 1940’s to the present day.


The Centre is dedicated to the research and study of textiles within a broader context of visual and material culture. The value of textiles as a primary source of cultural knowledge and experience is increasingly being recognised. Textiles are part of our everyday life and embody a complex set of histories, inviting a range of speculations about their wider cultural meaning and social interpretation. The Centre provides a distinctive resource for multi-faceted research and from many different perspectives. Goldsmiths students, academic staff, researchers, Friends and members of the public can use the Centre for the purposes of their own research needs.

The first records from the Centre are now available in two taster collections, the Material Collection and the Slide Collection.


The Material Collection

The material collection is centred around
- prized Constance Howard’s personal and textilesthe Centre in 2000.
which she donated to - many Her invaluable teaching notes and experimental samplesby her students at created Goldsmiths from the late 1940’s to her retirement in 1975 are included.
Elements within the donation represent a landmark in the history of British twentieth century textile art. It tells a unique and distinctive story of creative risk and innovation.

The collection continues to grow.
- Since 2002 there have been substantial donations from Sheila Fraser (2000), Francesca Palmer (2002) and Christine Risley (2003), all of whom contribute to the unique story contained within the Centre.
- Contemporary alumni, Alicia Felderbaum (1996), Saturo Aoyama (1998), Michiko Ishikawa (1997) and f.marquespenteado (2002) have left new gems. Their work reflects a fresh and culturally diverse contemporary art textile in both material and digital form. This enhances the legacy and continues the Goldsmiths story into the 21st century
- The 62 Group and Fibre Art group have housed their archives in the Centre.
- Diana Keay’s project ‘Gathering’ Decoration and Construction of European Folk Costume in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece, was researched during her Churchill Travelling Fellowship (1984) and is now housed alongside the Centre’s East European artefacts and books.


Copyright and permitted uses
Material Archive,

The images and metadata presented in the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles are copyright of Goldsmiths College, University of London, Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles. They may be used for private research and study purposes only. They must not be copied or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder. Enquires regarding reproduction should be sent to the address below.

More records are constantly being added to the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles collection database. We make every effort to ensure that these records are accurate, and we apologise for any errors which may have unwittingly occurred. The Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles would be pleased to receive any information or suggestions which would enhance these records. Please email with any comments or queries.


The Slide Collection

The unique slide collection comprises several thousand slides of work from textile students who studied at Goldsmiths. The slides date from the late 1940’s to the present. Many graduates are internationally recognised alumni. Added to this distinctive archive but not yet available online are slides from many textile teachers and artists reflecting not only their own work but their range of research interests.

  Copyright and permitted uses
Slide Archive

All images held within this database are copyright of Goldsmiths College University of London. Copyright in the original art work belongs to the artist. Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders to gain permission for use of the images of work held within the Centre. We would be grateful for any information concerning copyright and we will withdraw the images immediately on copyright holder’s request, if appropriate. Please direct any enquiries to:

  This project used the Getty thesauri as controlled vocabularies. For other search terms please see the following lists of in-house terminology created by the Constance Howard Research and Resource Centre in Textiles    
  Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles:
In-house Terminology


Cotton organdie  
Cotton polyester  
Glass beads  
Metal thread  

Historical Terminology

Art needlework Commercial textile
Festival regalia Folk embroidery
Folk regalia Folk textile
Imported embroidery Imported goods
Indian traditional embroidery Leek embroidery
Muslim embroidery Ottoman embroidery
Ottoman textiles Raj
Tourist market souvenirs Tourist textiles
Traditional beadwork Traditional costume
Traditional embroidery Traditional netting
Traditional quilts Traditional style
Traditional textile Turkish embroidery
Twenties dress


Basket couching Bead weaving
Blanket stitch Bokhara couching
Buttonhole stitch Chain stitch
Cornely chain stitch Cornely cording
Cornely embroidery Cornely machine embroidery
Couched thread Counted stitches
Counted thread Cretan stitch
Cut fabric Darning
Detached stitches Double sided embroidery
Double sided stitch Eyelet hole embroidery
Fabric manipulation Feather stitch
Fly stitch French knots
Gauze weave Hand embroidery
Hand stitch Hand stitching
Herringbone stitch Industrial lace
Lazy daisy Machine embroidery
Machine lace Metal thread embroidery
Mirror work Needle weaving
Open chain stitch Padded embroidery
Padded stitch Pattern cutting
Peking knot Piece goods
Plain sewing Pulled thread work
Raised appliqué Reverse herringbone
Romanian couching Running stitch
Satin stitch Sequin embroidery
Shadow work Stem stitch
Stitches Straight stitch
Surface stitch Tailoring
Tambour beading Tambour work
Threaded stitich Woven surface
Zig zag stitch
  Identification Terminology

Animal regalia Applique panel
Art needlework Baby vests
Baby’s bonnet Backless blouse
Bead collar Bead weaving
Beaded snake Best dress
Bodice back Book cover
Boy’s hat Boy’s jacket
Bridesmaid Camisole
Carriage parasol Cashmere coat
Cashmere embroidery Cashmere shawl
Ceiling hanging Ceremonial dress
Ceremonial textile Chemical lace
Child’s dress Christening gown
Cornelli Cornely work
Cushion cover Detachable collar
Devore Dolly-bag
Door hanging Dorothy-bag
Drawstring purse Dress embroidery
Dress lace Dress panel
Dress top Dress trim
Dressing table set Dress-inset
Ecclesiastical embroidery Edging
Educational fragment Embroidered fragment
Embroidered hanging Embroidered jacket
Embroidered motif Embroidered panel
Embroidered strip Embroidery sample
Festival garment Festive dress

Floral brocade Folding panel
Glove sachet Handkerchief purse
Horse knee band Horse trappings
Irish linen Kantha
Khotrie Lace edging
Lace trim Leek needlework
Machine embroidery Machine lace
Metal thread embroidery Metal thread work
Mirror work Narrative embroidery
NDD (National Diploma in Design) Ottoman embroidery
Pantoran Pill box hat
Pom pom hat Quilt fragment
Quilted bag Romal
Shadow work Shamiana
Shawl fringe Silk tie-die
Skirt panel Sleeve bands
Sponge-bag Sprigged muslin
Stitched panel Storage bag
Table cover Table mat
Table runner Tambour beading
Textile hanging Tie-dye
Traditional costume Turban badge
Turkish embroidery Turkish sash
Turkish towel Twenties dress
Wedding hat Wedding smock

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Last revised 2 February 2006