Opening: Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster, October 20 2012
© All photos: Rachel Cockett
At the centre of the country’s newest museum, a loom rolls. Dozens of volunteers have used it during the past few months, weaving the "exciting and emotional" way to a long-awaited carpet heritage centre.
Three bespoke carpets, worth £15,000 but given away by Brockway, one of the companies continuing Kidderminster’s proud floor-softening lineage, cover the floor. And machines, computers you can design your own carpet with and a colourful timeline also feature at the Stour Vale Mill venue, a Grade II-listed, 19th century building neighbouring a supermarket.
The Museum of Carpet has been a while in the making, having first been mooted in 1981, when two local manufacturers and a solicitor sized up its feasibility.
An exhibition from the Bowes Museum, hosted in the town during the 1990s, increased public awareness, and the Carpet Museum Trust – founded in 2000 – eventually won £1.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund four years ago.
Built in 1855, the Mill became the first purpose-built loom carpet factory in the world under the watch of the Mayor of Kidderminster. Two centuries on, it is now a fitting home for seven galleries, an Archives Centre, a Library and several mountains of wool.
- Follow the museum on Twitter @MuseumofCarpet.