Film telling story of silk in Sudbury launches festival
PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 September 2019
BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL
A film telling the story of silk manufacture in Sudbury will launch a major festival celebrating the industry this weekend.
Sudbury Silk Stories sees current and former staff talk of their experiences in a film exploring how the industry in the town has evolved into one of the world's leading manufacturing centres.
It receives its first screening to an invited audience at Sudbury Town Hall on Friday September 6.
The following day sees the festival, which will see a huge range of patterns and designs on display in St Peter's church cultural venue in the town centre plus talks, exhibitions and tours around the town centre.
The film project saw pupils from Ormiston Academy and Thomas Gainsborough School interviewing silk workers in a scheme funded by Babergh District Council (BDC) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
A BDC spokesman said: "The project has worked with local people and organisations to gather stories and anecdotes to create this film.
"The interviews with current and retired mill staff will be featured in full and uploaded to a dedicated website bringing all the history of the industry and first hand experiences of silk workers together in one place."
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The Festival has been organised by artist Ruth Philo working with BDC, Sudbury Town Council, Sudbury in Bloom and Gainsborough's House.
She said: "The silk industry of Sudbury is world-famous and this will be a fantastic event paying tribute to it."
There are five silk companies in Sudbury - Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company, The Humphries Weaving Company, Stephen Walters & Sons, David Walters Fabrics and Vanners Silks - which import more than 110 tonnes a year of Chinese silk thread which they then colour and weave.
More than 300 people work in the silk mills, producing cloth for stately homes, fashion houses and high profile customers.
The Queen's coronation robes were milled in the town, as was Princess Diana's wedding dress.
A highlight of the festival will be at Gainsborough's House museum for an exhibition of Vivienne Westwood ensembles inspired by the 18th century.
Weavers' Piece, an enclosed garden off Siam Place, has been also been restored to show off the plants used to provide the natural dyes.
For more details go to the Sudbury Silk Festival website.