Newtown Textile Museum

Newtown Textile Museum

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  • Museums / heritage

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This wholly volunteer run Museum is housed in an original 1830s handloom weaving factory and the preservation of the building is a primary objective. It consisted of 6 back to back cottages on two floors, with two floors along the whole length of the building where the looms were kept.  The 6 cottages became 3 in the 1890s and the Museum has broadly maintained this original structure, apart from the addition of an internal stairway The Museum aims to interest and inform its visitors about the experience of living and working in the building; the social and industrial history of Newtown; and woollen textiles, particularly the processes involved in converting fleece into flannel.  Visitors are enthusiastic, with comments like "a hidden treasure", and the Museum is the top attraction in Newtown on Trip Advisor, with 5 stars. The Museum is the last remaining example, in near original condition, of the 82 similar buildings in the town in the 1830s, when it was called `the Leeds of Wales'. We consider maintaining a significant part of Newtown's industrial heritage and showing how people lived in the past, as well as focusing on craft skills, are beneficial and important things to do.


The Museum welcomes visitors from 12 - 4 on 4 days a week, from the beginning of May until the end of September, plus groups of people come for tours at other times. The Museum houses displays of some of its artefacts, which are still evolving and being improved, plus related information on display boards. There is a small exhibition space showing a different exhibition every year on topics linked to Newtown and its history, and textiles. There are regular demonstrations of spinning and weaving and workshops while courses on craft skills relating to wool are being planned. Local schools are encouraged to bring their pupils in small groups which they seem to love. We are always open to new ideas of what can be done although delivery depends on the availability of our volunteers. 

We are a very small Museum for which no charge is made, but donations encouraged. It is open to all and visitor numbers are growing gradually. The Covid effect is still with us but we had around 1,000 visitors this summer (2022).  Pre-Covid, around half of the visitors came from Newtown and the surrounding areas and half from elsewhere including the USA and Australia. Some people visit because of a particular interest in textiles, particularly weaving; some for the history and some for general interest.

Behind the scenes, the volunteers work on caring for the building itself; the care and conservation of the collection; maintaining the website (; publicising the Museum through social media and by other means; seeking the funds needed for any activities other than the basic expenditure on energy and insurance etc; developing our knowledge of items in the collection and the history of the textile trade; and developing ideas for the future. The Museum currently has `working towards accreditation" and will be applying for full accreditation in April 2023.

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