The Textile Conservation Centre was founded in 1975 by Karen Finch OBE and was based at Hampton Court Palace for nearly 25 years. It is of international importance having trained over half of the textile conservators working in the world today.
In 1998 the Centre merged with the University of Southampton, one of the UK’s top research-led universities, and in 1999 relocated to a purpose-designed building on the University’s campus in Winchester. Now less than 10 years later it is set to close. This represents a sad loss of skills and a world class example of skills teaching too. In some ways it is not the universities fault as it is not self financing as a part of the school of art and design.
It seems strange at a time when new schemes are being set up and money poured into heritage building conservation skills that such a success story as the textile conservation centre should be closing.