The Textile Conservation Centre

Some highlights of the TCC's recent achievements

Background: a distinguished history and international reputation

  1. The TCC was established as independent charitable trust in 1975. Based in Hampton Court Palace from 1975-1999. Merged with University of Southampton in 1998. Moved to custom-designed building on the WSA campus in 1999
  2. The charitable trust was re-named the 'TCC Foundation' and continues to support the TCC, particularly in awarding bursaries to its students
  3. The TCC Foundation contributed £750,000 towards the cost of the building and funded the cost of all of the new equipment, the relocation, and development of the new academic programmes. Total raised from external sources: £1.7m (over 50% of the total cost)
  4. The TCC was identified as one of the University of Southampton's 14 'centres of special excellence'

Education: MA Textile Conservation

  1. From 1999-2009 offered MA Textile Conservation (MATC) and MA Museums & Galleries, and PhD opportunities in both areas
  2. MA Textile Conservation was considered the leading course internationally; attracted many overseas students; majority of trained textile conservators around the world studied at TCC. MATC students regularly shortlisted for the Student Conservator of the Year Award; two have won it. A TCC graduate won the Conservation of the Year Award 2007
  3. Significant bursary funding is raised each year, to ensure that best candidates are able to accept places.
  4. TCC graduates have an outstanding record of employment: all those wishing to remain in conservation (which is about 97% of our MATC graduates) gain employment

Education: MA Museums and Galleries

  1. MA Museums & Galleries has established very high reputation since its introduction in 1999
  2. The MA Museums & Galleries' graduates also have an enviable employment record in this very competitive part of the heritage sector
  3. TCC took over History of Textiles and Dress teaching at MA level, with this becoming a new pathway of the MA Museums and Galleries. Student numbers on this pathway have consistently increased
  4. Student numbers since joining the university have grown consistently, MA M&G numbers reached a peak of nearly 60 in 2007-08

Research: the TCC met or exceeded all its research milestones

  1. Secured the then largest ever grant awarded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC): £948,000 to establish the AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies, 2002-7
  2. The AHRC Research Centre consistently met or exceeded its milestones (e.g. academic publications, international conferences and exhibitions); its output and management praised by AHRC and by external reviewers and its final report on its work was given the rating 'outstanding' by AHRC
  3. TCC successfully introduced 'Research Conservators' as part of AHRC Research Centre
  4. RAE 2008: TCC research judged to be of strong international standing, TCC's research (QR) income trebled as a result. TCC submission achieved 2.55 (overall of strong international standing). It was clear from written feedback that the TCC's pending closure and thus its inability to set out future research strategy affected the RAE grade awarded
  5. Total research funding secured by the TCC staff between 2000-2009: over £2.1m
  6. In period 2007-2009 TCC has 2 AHRC funded research projects underway (one jointly with engineering but led by TCC), total value £445,000
  7. Collaborations with various subject areas across the university: e.g. £386,000 AHRC grant awarded for joint project with Engineering into monitoring of tapestries, 2007-2010

Commercial work: TCC has provided a world class service

  1. The TCC's commercial team of trained, experienced conservators worked for museums and private clients in UK and overseas. This enriched the students' learning environment and provided basis for research projects
  2. World leaders in upholstery conservation: conservation, research and book. Specialists in conservation of painted silk banners; clients include trades unions, livery companies and museums
  3. Treatment of 80 sets of rare 19th century theatre scenery shortlisted for the Conservation Award 2005
  4. Costume projects include items worn by Florence Nightingale, 1st Duke of Wellington, Jeremy Bentham and Marlene Dietrich, as well as Rajasthani, Mandarin and Samurai warrior outfits
  5. Conservation projects and related research range from archaeological textiles to ‘smart and techno' fabrics.
  6. Specialist services to international bodies, e.g. ICCROM (International Centre for Preservation & Restoration of Cultural Property). Other international clients in USA, Middle East etc

Outreach: TCC is very effective at getting media coverage for its work

Hidden House History toured museums in the region for 18 months.
Curious works: English 16th& 17th Embroideries, Ashmolean Museum. Associated media coverage: press and BBC radio.
Deliberately Concealed Garments Project web site.
Much media coverage for the TCC and the University - such as:

  1. Treatment of the HMS Victory Fore-topsail
  2. BBC South Today April 2007 - three features on the TCC
  3. BBC 'History Detectives' (2007) - analytical work by TCC
  4. Daily Telegraph (conservation of rare red pirate flag) June 2007
  5. Features on concealed garments project variously on BBC Radio and TV, Meridian, Arte, SPAB news
  6. Press coverage regionally and nationally on the conservation of stage clothes worn by Freddie Mercury