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Textile museum launches exhibition

Created on 26/05/2011 @ 14:43
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Newtown Textile Museum is launching its summer campaign, focusing on one of the town’s most famous and successful businessmen, Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones who started the world’s first mail order business in 1861.

Visitors to the museum in Commercial Street can find out about the man who built the Pryce-Jones empire.
Taking advantage of the national postal service introduced in 1849, customers could order goods by post, something unheard of before. In 1862 he supplied flannel to Florence Nightingale and later received an order from Queen Victoria.
“During the 1870’s Pryce Jones took part in exhibitions all over the world, winning several medals and becoming world famous. In 1879 he opened the Royal Welsh Warehouse and expanded his woollen production to outside of Newtown. The company continued to provide clothing, furnishing and household good throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century,” said a museum spokesman.
“The company’s seasonal catalogues show a wide variety of goods although the emphasis is on clothing. From the catalogues it is clear that Pryce Jones Ltd followed the latest fashion and offered its customers the newest trends in clothing and accessories.”
For this exhibition Powys Archives has lent the museum a number of advertising leaflets and catalogues. Each display case covers a decade in the history of Pryce-Jones Ltd from the 1880s to the 1920s and shows how the fashion changes especially within women’s clothes.
Newtown Textile Museum is housed at 5-7 Commercial Street in Newtown.
“This building is a typical example of an early 19th century weaving shop with six back-to-back cottages on the ground and first floors and two large rooms on the second and third floors running the full length of the building. The cottages would each have housed a family, who would have worked in the weaving shop on the two floors above,” added the spokesman.
The museum was founded in 1962 by the late Major Peter Lewis. In 1990 the museum was transferred to Powys County Council and the curator of Powysland Museum in Welshpool.
In 2002 a grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the museum to form a more welcoming entrance directly off Commercial Street and to fully interpret both the building and the collections.
The museum now gives a comprehensive picture of the living and working conditions for woolen factory workers in the first half of the 19th century, it describes the development of the manufacture of flannel and places the history of Newtown in a broader Welsh context.
The museum will be open from Thursday, 2nd of June to Tuesday, 30th of August. Opening hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2-5pm
For further information telephone 01686 622024 (during opening hours), otherwise 01938 554656.


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