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Flat’ll do nicely! Yorkshire flat caps made on vintage Leeds looms could win major arts award

Date: 13th February 2018.'Pictures: James Hardisty.'''The traditional Yorkshire flat caps created using Armley Mills Museum's vintage looms could be in line for a top national arts award.  Pictured: Chris Sharp, Community Curator, trying out the museum's very own Yorkshire cap.
Date: 13th February 2018.'Pictures: James Hardisty.'''The traditional Yorkshire flat caps created using Armley Mills Museum's vintage looms could be in line for a top national arts award. Pictured: Chris Sharp, Community Curator, trying out the museum's very own Yorkshire cap.
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Traditional Yorkshire flat caps created using a Leeds museum’s vintage looms could be in line for a top national arts award.

The classic White Rose county headgear is part of the Armley Weave range, which uses cloth produced on the historic equipment at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, once home to the largest woollen mill in the world.

Barrie Mackwell, Visitor Assistant at Leeds Industrial Museum, checking the loom which items for the Armley Weave range were made on.

Barrie Mackwell, Visitor Assistant at Leeds Industrial Museum, checking the loom which items for the Armley Weave range were made on.

The Association of Cultural Enterprise has named the Armley Weave range as a finalist in the prestigious ACE Best Product Awards for 2018.

The winners are set to be announced in Brighton on March 1.

The range of products was created to support a project between Yorkshire Textiles and Armley Mills, who teamed up to produce their own bespoke cloth in a bid to showcase the mill’s fascinating textile heritage.

Developed by Laxtons Specialist Yarns in Yorkshire, the resulting luxurious eco British wool yarn cloth has also been used to make items including cushions, flasks, keyrings and hot water bottles.

The Armley Weave range.

The Armley Weave range.

The flat caps were designed by Leeds’s own Rhian Kempadoo Millar, who has worked to reinvent the traditional hats for the modern age.

Sarah Barton, keeper at Leeds Industrial Museum, said: “We’re all immensely proud to have received this nomination and to be continuing the long tradition of Yorkshire textiles manufacturing, which began here hundreds of years ago and which was such a pivotal part of Leeds’s industrial heritage.

“The Armley Weave project was designed to pay tribute to the pioneers who, through ingenuity, determination and good, old-fashioned hard graft, made Leeds and Yorkshire so synonymous with textile excellence.

“Hopefully, if they were alive today they’d be just as pleased with this nomination as we are.”

Chris Sharp, Community Curator at Leeds Industrial Museum, strikes a pose.

Chris Sharp, Community Curator at Leeds Industrial Museum, strikes a pose.

The museum’s traditional looms are part of a spectacular array of vintage textile equipment on display at the site, some of which is still operational.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said: “This award nomination is fantastic recognition for an innovative project which keeps alive the very proud traditions of Armley Mills.

“It is testament to the enthusiasm and skill of everyone involved that they have used vintage equipment to create something so relevant and contemporary.

“It’s fantastic to see the Armley Weave shortlisted.”

Armley Mills was built in 1805 by Benjamin Gott and was once the world’s largest woollen mill.

Production there ended in 1969 and the site opened as Leeds Industrial Museum in 1982.

For more details about the Armley Weave’s nomination, visit: www.acenterprises.org.uk/ace-best-product-awards-2018-finalists

For information about Leeds Industrial Museum, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/armleymills