Festival to commemorate silk industry in Sudbury
- Credit: ALLUN CALENDER
The silk industry in Sudbury is to be celebrated with a major festival telling its story.
Exhibitions and talks by a range of experts including one from legendary London fashion house Vivienne Westwood will wake place on Saturday September 7.
Festival programme manager Ruth Philo said 95% of British silk is woven in Sudbury and the town occupied a unique place within the industry in this country.
"Sudbury is a very important town in British silk weaving, particularly currently," she said.
"While there are other places as well, Sudbury is the only town with the amount of working silk mills that it has.
"Its heritage goes back to the 18th century in what is a very competitive industry."
The day will see an exhibition in St Peter's Church in Market Hill with displays by the silk mills.
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Dyers and spinners from Lavenham Guildhall will spin 'Lavenham Blue' wool dyed with woad and, and an exhibition of 18th Century-inspired costumes by Vivienne Westwood will take place at Gainsborough's House.
There will also be Silk Walks around the town and an Architectural Heritage Walk looking at Sudbury's silk history.
This year has also seen the launch of film projects in Sudbury about the industry, including the Stories of Silk film scheme by Babergh District Council in which silk workers were interviwed by schoolchildren from Sudbury and Great Cornard.
The silk industry in Sudbury dates back to the 1770s when silk weavers moved from Spitalfields in London to escape strict rules introduced by local magistrates.
Today there are still five working silk weaving companies in the town - the Gainsborough Weaving Company, Humphries Weaving Company, David Walters Fabrics, Stephen Walters & Sons and Vanners Silk Weavers. Together they produce 95% of silk manufactured in the UK.
Sudbury silk was used for the wedding dresses of the Princess Royal and Princess Diana, singer Adele's dress for the Brit Awards and the dress worn by Michele Obama when she visited the Queen.
Ruth said: "The town is looking forward to sharing its rich history and welcoming visitors from both near and far."
For more details go to the Sudbury silk festival website.