Textiles and costumes | Oxfordshire County Council

Textiles and costumes

The Oxfordshire Museum Service has been collecting textiles steadily since the 1970s.

A vintage dress being viewed through a magnifying glass.

The Oxfordshire Museum Service has a collection of around 5,000 textile items collected since the 1960’s and belong to the council and partnership museums. We hold a growing collection of 19th and 20th-century items with a few rarer examples from the 17th and 18th century.

Items include:

  • Items form Oxfordshire’s Textile Industries, Witney Blankets, Plush, Spencer’s Corsets and Gloving.
  • Woking dress; Farmworkers’ Smocks, Fire and Police Force uniforms, Aluminium Foundry Workers Protective Clothing and Servants Dress.
  • Friendship, Union and Society Banners.
  • Ceremonial costumes which include Coronation Robes, Court Dress and Academic gowns.
  • A varied collection of hats and shoes.
  • Rare Fragments of a medieval cloak or hair shirt.
  • Mourning clothes of the 19th century.
  • Domestic items such as Quilts, carpets and curtains
  • Samplers and samples of sewing techniques produced by children.

Plus many more items besides.

We are actively seeking to add to our collections with these items:

  • Oxford Bags – Men’s trousers from the 1920’s favoured by University of Oxford Undergrads.
  • Working Dress – Men and Women
  • Men’s clothing from everyday life
  • 18th century items and earlier

Washing symbols for textiles

Wash code labels in garments are primarily used to guide us to the appropriate cleaning methods. Symbol-based wash codes have evolved since 1966 and, because they are standardised, these codes can be used to help date our textile from this period onwards. Before this time there was little or no instruction provided. Download our factsheet (pdf format, 970Kb)

More information

For more information and to arrange a visit, please contact:
Samantha van de Geer ACR (Ba, Ma)
Object Conservator and Keeper Textile Collections
Tel: 01865 300937


Last reviewed
06 June 2017
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