So far, sew good

So far, sew good

Needlework may be having a revival but many of us still struggle to take up a hem and wouldn’t even consider darning a sock. However, back in the nineteenth century, when clothes were expensive and money was hard to come by, fine needlework was considered an essential accomplishment for women.

Whitelands College in Chelsea, was the first all-women teacher training college where young working-class women learned exquisite needlework skills along with the more traditional subjects of English, arithmetic, art, history, geography and religious knowledge. The college had such a good reputation that Whitelands students went on to teach at schools nation-wide and throughout the British Empire. Now the college’s archive of samplers is being displayed in an exhibition at Goldsmiths, University of London.

A booklet to accompany the exhibition, designed by Pad, explains the history of the college and showcases the intricate and beautiful needlework learned by the students.

Dr Vivienne Richmond, Senior Lecturer, Head of History at Goldsmiths, curated the exhibition and commissioned Pad to design the booklet. She said: “I had to get a quote for the work at very short notice but I couldn’t have had better service than I got from Pad. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted but no idea how to convey it. Pad really ‘got’ what I was after and I am absolutely delighted with the end result. It looks professional and sophisticated and beautiful.”

The exhibition, A Remedy for Rents, is on display at Goldsmiths, University of London until 10 March 2016.