ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

St.Wilfred's Chapel
Maurice Keyworth Building
University of Leeds

Opening Times:
Admission is Free
Exhibition opening times: Tuesday - Friday 09:30 - 16:30 (occasional lunchtime closing may be necessary)
We are closed: Saturday, Sunday, Monday; during exhibition changes, University closed days (Easter,Christmas and Tuesdays following bank holidays) and a period over the Summer vacation.
2012 closed dates: these dates will be updated periodically, please contact for confirmation.
Please note: we sometimes have to close at short notice or for staff training. If you are intending to travel distances to visit, please telephone beforehand to confirm current opening hours.
Scholars and researchers wishing to look at items from the collections are welcome to visit during certain closed dates by prior arrangement. You will be asked to comply with our handling guidelines.

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The acquisition of items forming the ULITA textile collections began in the late 19th Century. John and Roberts Beaumont, the first Professors in the Department of Textile Industries of the Yorkshire College, later to become the University of Leeds, began to collect fabric samples, pattern books and folios to use as teaching resources for students of woven textile design. In 1892 the items contained in the collection had increased in size and importance so much that a donation by the Clothworkers' Company allowed for the provision of a Museum, which in 1895 gained its first curator in Miss Clara Benton.
Local textiles firms gave samples and working models to the early museum, whilst the Beaumonts and other professors, most notably Professor Aldred Barker, as well as students and associates, continued to collect items on their travels. The museum was claimed to be the only museum of its kind in the country with the exception of that in South Kensington.                

Contact Details:
Jill Winder
Tel: 0113 343 3919

Learning Programmes:
Our educational resources are intended for students in Schools, Further Education and Higher Education institutions. We have downloadable resources about fibre preparation, yarn manufacture and weaving.  

The majority of the textile fabrics contained in ULITA’s Collection are woven from yarns which have been made from natural fibres.
Some of the fabrics are woven as plain, non-patterned fabric and later embellished by block-printing, or the woven fabric is dyed and then decorated with embroidery. The most elaborate woven textiles are those called brocades and ikats. Brocades are woven on complex looms equipped with a Jacquard mechanism. Ikats are fabrics woven in a basic weave, the elaborate patterning being achieved by resist dyeing the yarns before weaving. Making Textiles contains four learning modules which will give you an overview of the stages involved for the manufacture of a woven fabric.

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Associated Resources

Louisa Pesel's Travels

Louisa Pesel's Travels

An Embroiderer's travel record of Europe, India and Egypt 1903-1947 Read More »
Mandarin Square

Mandarin Square

19th Century Chinese Qing Dynasty Embroidery Read More »
Shisha Jacket from Gujarat

Shisha Jacket from Gujarat

Highly embroidered Indian textiles Read More »
Japanese Stencil Design

Japanese Stencil Design

A Meiji stencil illustrating the legend of Urashima Taro Read More »
Ajrakh, block printed fabric from Rajasthan

Ajrakh, block printed fabric from Rajasthan

Traditional Indian cotton fabric using natural dyes Read More »

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