Needlework Development Scheme
We look after around 100 embroidery and needlework items from the Needlework Development Scheme collection.
The Needlework Development in Scotland Scheme was a collaboration between art and design, education and industry, sponsored by J&P Coats Ltd. The scheme encouraged needlework and therefore also the sale of J&P Coats thread. This developed into the nationwide Needlework Development Scheme managed by The Central Agency Ltd, which sold thread for J&P Coats Ltd.
Loan collections of historical and modern embroideries from around the world were developed with examples being purchased by, or donated to, the Scheme. These collections were then exhibited and loaned to schools in order to help teach and promote embroidery as an art form. The Scheme was disbanded out the outbreak of WW2, but re-established in 1944 at the instigation of the Glasgow School of Art. At this stage, each of the 4 art schools were allowed to keep 30 of the specimens in their care and it was agreed each would receive 70 more should the scheme disband again.
The Scheme was originally centred on Scotland but slowly expanded into the rest of the UK in the early 1950s. During the 1950s, exhibitions of the Scheme's pieces were held throughout the UK, including the Festival of Britain in 1951. In 1961, J&P Coats Ltd withdrew funding for the Scheme and it ceased to function. The collection of over 3,500 textile items was broken up and disseminated between around 14 universities, colleges and museums around the UK.