V&A Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion
London, England | Blythe House by Sir Henry Tanner, 1890
The Clothworkers’ Centre by Haworth Tompkins Architects, 2013
The Blythe House in Olympia, West London, serves as a storage archive for three major British institutions: Victoria & Albert Museum (100,000 objects), Science Museum (170,000 objects) and the British Museum (2,000,000+ objects) (1). Originally designed as the headquarters for the Post Office Savings Bank in 1890, the building was later repurposed as a storage facility for art and artifacts in the late 1970s.
The Clothworkers’ Centre is an archive dedicated to the V&A’s Textiles and Fashion collection. As a grade II listed building, the Centre’s design respects the historic shell and core but carefully implements new materials of reclaimed timber, patinated steel and gold fixtures. The Centre features an open conservation area and photography studio, and a large seminar room that can hold large groups and display objects. The Clothworkers’ Centre offers monthly tours of the facilities, or visitors can request specific artifacts for view. For more information, please visit the Clothworkers’ Centre website here.
Unfortunately, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced the sale of the Blythe House in 2015 and offered a £150 million investment to move the objects to a new state-of-the-art facility (2).
Visited: February 23, 2018
All photographs shown above were taken during a public tour of the Clothworkers’ Centre. The V&A is the source of the collection/subject of images.
- Stephens, Simon. “DCMS looking at future of Blythe House.”Museums Journal, Museums Association, 29 Jan. 2014, http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/29012014-dcms-looking-at-future-of-blythe-house.
- Keane, Paul, editor. Departmental Overview 2015-2016: Department for Culture, Media & Sport, pp. 1–27. http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Departmental-overview-2015-16-Department-for-Culture-Media-and-Sport.pdf.