Merton Abbey Mills and River Wandle

River & Cloth was completed in October 2010 and this website was last updated on 22 October 2010.  The site is no longer maintained, but a copy remains for research and reference. Resource packs on textile techniques and the history of textiles are still available for download from the Resource pages.

River & Cloth is a programme celebrating the enormous contribution and worldwide influence of the Merton textile industry based around the River Wandle - a fast flowing river with a long and important textile industrial tradition. The project will bring to life the stories and contributions of William Morris, Liberty & Co. and explore the contributions made by immigrants and refugee workers including the Huguenots dyers and printers and the Dutch whitsters.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and delivered by London Borough of Merton, River & Cloth will encourage schools and local community groups to get involved in the following activities:

  • Workshops with schools and community groups based in Merton, involving hands-on learning of techniques inspired by traditional textile processes in Dyeing, Stitch and Printing
  • Sharing stories about Merton's textile history with school children through organised visits to: Merton Abbey Mills - a heritage site housed in the former Liberty silk-printing works, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Wandle Industrial Museum.
  • Training of up to 30 project volunteers and up  to 30 teachers in textile processes, to enable them to deliver their own workshops and creative activities in schools and in their own community
  • Teaching and learning resources including project fact sheets and workshop plans
  • A borough-wide celebratory exhibition showcasing project participants’ creations
  • A project publication covering the textile processes being explored, and including images of the work produced
  • The River & Cloth Website - workshop participants and visitors to this site are invited to follow the progress of the project and feedback their comments via the noticeboard

To find out how you can get involved, please visit our Programme pages.