Gulbenkian Prize People's Vote - Warner Textile Archive Braintree

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 23 May 2007
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image of fabric sample in a museum

Warner commissioned major artists to design fabrics - this sample is by Graham Sutherland. Courtesy Braintree District Museum Trust

The voting for the 2007 Readers' Poll for the Gulbenkian Prize is now closed

Not only have we had an amazing response to our Gulbenkian Prize People's Vote, but we've received literally hundreds of fantastic comments, showing just how much museums and galleries mean to local people. Here's a selection showing what our readers feel about the Warner Textile Archive in Braintree, Essex.

“What a gem this place is! The great faith and foresight of the Trustees has led to a local museum equal to that of any major city.” Anon

“A superb project, undertaken by a relatively small museums service. This really should win.” Mark

“Braintree Museum is keeping alive the names of industries which made Braintree the town that it is today. The youngsters of today can see the beautiful fabrics that Warners wove over the years and how Courtaulds started. The older residents can say, ‘Yes I worked there’ and relive those days. It is concentrating on showing the people the wonderful fabrics that Braintree made in its heyday.” Terry

a photograph of the interior of a gallery with glass cases and panels

The Warner Textile Archive is housed in the original mill where many of the textiles were created. © Braintree District Museum Trust

“Braintree is, frankly, an unfashionable and under-rated place - modern expansion has threatened to obliterate its past. The Warner Textile Archive is a shining exception - a huge achievement by local people who cared, fought hard, and achieved an educational archive of both local and national importance. Places like Braintree don’t win national competitions; now it deserves to do so.” Mike

“We are voting for Warner's Museum because of the historical importance to the town of Braintree. Not only did it provide work to local people for many years but the material produced became world famous, especially after Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress material was woven there. The museum itself is a joy to visit, where the staff are always helpful and informative - it is wonderful to be able to take any visiting guests to such an interesting museum.” John and Kath

“Small museums need all the help they can get to survive...and this is such a worthy cause, preserving and conserving as it does such an amazing archive for the nation.” Jean

close up picture of fabric sample

Detail, Sutherland fabric. Courtesy Braintree District Museum Trust

“A marvellous little museum run with great imagination, dynamism and flair – a great credit to its small and enthusiastic staff. New initiatives and activities abound and the relationship between the museum and their council seems excellent, forward-thinking, positive and creative with a proper understanding of the importance of planning for the long-term.” Anthony

“Braintree has worked so hard to preserve some culture in the face of commercial growth and traffic!” Bernie

”I live in Braintree and have visited the museum on several occasions. The history of silk weaving and the retrieval of silk are fascinating and the cloth breathtakingly beautiful. This award would acknowledge the importance of a small regional museum in keeping the social history of the town and its people alive for future generations.” Joanna

“The Warner Archive is a unique resource, beautifully presented. It is a real gem for Braintree and deserves this level of recognition.” Clare

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned: