Museum secures archive
By Sharon AsplinCONTRACTS have finally been signed to complete the sale of the Warner Archive to a town's museum.Braintree District Museum has been fighting to save the collection, which is the only complete record of British high-quality Jacquard hand-weaving dating from 1821.
By Sharon Asplin
CONTRACTS have finally been signed to complete the sale of the Warner Archive to a town's museum.
Braintree District Museum has been fighting to save the collection, which is the only complete record of British high-quality Jacquard hand-weaving dating from 1821.
The silks can be found in many royal palaces, as well as Number 10 Downing Street, and it also includes a companion collection of printed textiles, designs, point papers, documents and power woven clothes.
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Most were manufactured in Braintree and the museum wants the items to be displayed at the specially-converted Warner's Mill in the town's South Street - their original home
Now chairman of the trustees, Lynette Flint, and chairman of the museum trust's executive committee, Malcolm Bryan, have formally signed the contracts to complete the sale of the archive to the museum.
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The sale contract was signed by Ian Kirkham, chairman of Milton Keynes-based Walker Greenbank plc, which has owned the Warner Archive since 1994.
Trustee and Braintree District Council chairman, Jackie Pell, said: "I am so delighted it is now signed and sealed and we can get on with the preparation of the original mill building to house the collection. I sincerely hope we can open to the public within my term of office."
Braintree District Council leader Graham Butland added: "Thousands of local people have a direct or family connection with this irreplaceable collection, second only to the one in the V&A.
"It offers a unique record of nearly 100 years of silk and textile weaving in the district and will attract national and international interest to the town."
Mr Bryan said: "I am delighted that we have signed the contract and can prepare for the return of this national treasure to Braintree. We are now all looking forward to the opening of the centre, another significant milestone for the museum".
The sale has been made possible by £1.9million funding awarded from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Clothworkers' Foundation, the Art Fund, Pilgrim Trust and Essex Heritage Trust also funded the purchase along with support from local benefactors who committed a considerable sum to start the fundraising towards the total cost of £2.6m for the purchase and conversion of the mills in Braintree where the collection was created.