Explore Your Archive: Fashion and Textiles

This Explore Your Archive posting looks at Fashion and Textiles at Medway College of Design, through a alumni case study, in the 1950s and 1960.

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The Fashion/Textiles course at Medway College of Design hosted one the famous designers, Zandra Rhodes

Images relating to Zandra Rhodes and dress making displays at the Medway Fashion course can be found in our vast collection of press cuttings dating from 1958, collected by library staff at the institution. Prospectuses also provide details of the courses relating to fashion and textiles during Rhodes’ period at Medway College of Design.

Please note, for newspaper clippings that these records are displayed for learning and education purposes, and we operate a take-down policy

Zandra Rhodes at Fashion Show

1961 Fashion Exhibition

1961 Fashion Exhibition

One of the college’s most famous students, Zandra Rhodes joined the second year of the intermediate foundation course in 1957, bypassing the first year through her advanced artistic ability. Her mother, Beatrice Rhodes, taught dressmaking at the college, which Zandra tried to keep a secret from her peers. After her foundation course, she studied for a further two years for the National Diploma in Design. She originally intended to be an illustrator, but also experimented with printing processes on paper such as lino-cutting and lithography in addition to studying printed textiles. Her interest in printed textile design stemmed from the influence of one of the tutors at the college, Barbara Brown, who taught two days a week at the college, as well as being an innovative textile designer for Heal’s throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Rhodes refocused her studies on printed textiles and went on to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, becoming one of the most pioneering and influential textile designers of the late 1960s and 1970s who took her remarkable pop art inspired fabrics and revolutionised the fashion world.

Annual dressmaking display 1961 – incl Zandra Rhodes’ sister. The News

The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection can be accessed here This is a digital collection of Zandra Rhodes garments. This was done by the Centre for Digital Scholarship at UCA, Farnham Campus


Explore Your Archive: School of Printing

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School of Printing, (Graphic Design)

Maidstone School of Art

Adrian Pearman, 1960s, Student Profile
Adrian Pearman was a student in the 1960s at Maidstone at College of Art in the School of Printing. Adrian went on to have a career in Design.

We have examples of his work here from the 1960s, including:

A co-operate identity project for a diploma show, Maidstone District. This included bus timetables, memo, letterheads, and brochures.
A fictional boutique, His and Hers. At a time where colours were very subtle, the bright colours were very stand out for the time.
The award winning handprinted Decimal Currency Project, a prize awarded by the British Federation of Masters Printers.

Images can be seen in our Archive of the Month, April 2013, and in the blog link

His and Hers Boutique

His and Hers Boutique

School of Printing – Medway College of Design, Maidstone School of Art, Canterbury School of Art

UCA has printing press books from the 1940s (before the age of computers!) produced by students at Medway, Maidstone, and Canterbury Schools of Printing through their merger to the Kent Institute of Art and Design. These books explore Graphic Design and Typography through these schools, helping to also chart the development of the curriculum, and providing context to external Graphic Design courses in the wider world. The quality and texture of paper is also noticeable

Below are two rare book of the month reviews looking at Medway’s and Maidstone’s printing press books

July Rare Book of the Month

May Rare Book of the Month

Monthly update on project progression

Artist Book,  Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson

Artist Book, Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson


New catalogues available are

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Publications Collection, consisting on annual reports, research projects and general prospectuses. Available on Archives Hub

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Student Union Archive, consisting of 1990s Student Council minutes. Please note that they may be susceptible to data protection. Available on Archives Hub

Medway College of Design Archive is available on Archives Hub

Bulletins, newsletters and staff minutes are currently being catalogued to the Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Art and Design.

Further detailed cataloguing is commencing on Medway College of Design student sketchbooks, and Canterbury College of Art and School of Architecture, Architectural magazine, CASA and the Epsom and Ewell School of Art and Technical Institute


Material has been boxed in acid free boxes, with melinex sleeves, brass paper clips.

Preservation workshops for staff will be taking place at all campuses through February – March

Listing and accessioning training

Listing and accessioning training have taken place for library staff. Newspaper indexes have been set up.

Policies and procedures

Guidelines for identification of special collections and rare books approved. A draft Preservation Policy to be available by April

Staff and student outreach

Talks ongoing with Fine Art and MA Curation, Canterbury

Collections Gems Seminar being arranged to tie in with National Library Week – to showcase rare books, Ed Ruscha American Artist and Photographer rare book collection, and items from Canterbury’s institutional archive

Internal exhibitions

Exhibitions and displays being set up around all five campuses of the Tessa Boffin Archive for LGBT Month February (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)

External work

A proposal of a display of the history of Surrey Art Schools (Epsom, Guildford, and Farnham) accepted at Surrey History Centre. To take place August – September

Work ongoing with Epsom Public Library to display Artist Books April, with a lecturer from UCA giving a talk

Proposal to be submitted to the Kent History Library Centre for LGBT Month, February 2014

Work ongoing with heritage institutes in Canterbury

New Deposits

A collection of textile books from the 1980s, from the estate of Lynne Dennis, a previous member of the Embroiders Society

An archive and special collection relating to Working Class Artists in the 1980s-1990s, and women artists

Monthly update on project progression


Farnham School of Art catalogue can now be accessed online http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/38027/Farnham-School-of-Art

Further appraisal is ongoing on UCA’s photographic collection, produced by the marketing department

Medway College of Design catalogue has been submitted to Archives Hub

Maidstone College of Art archive has been catalogued in full and will shortly be submitted to Archives Hub



Re-boxing is nearly complete. Book rests and exhibition material will shortly be ordered. Preservation and handling workshops have been arranged throughout all campuses

PD5454 archival standards workshop attended


Archival guidelines and policies

Special Collections Policy has been submitted to Collections Working Group for final approval. Work ongoing on  preservation policy research. PD5454 to be factored in


Staff and student outreach

Post doctoral student to visit Epsom Archive on December 14th

Talks ongoing with Fine Art (BA) at Canterbury to use collections in course. Further meeting to be arranged after planning course

Meeting to be arranged with MA Curation in new year


Internal exhibitions

Student protest physical images up at Rochester and Canterbury. Good feedback from Canterbury open day. Digital images also online

Talks ongoing over library having permanent campus space at Farnham and Epsom – Farnham space booked for February

LGBT month (February)- displays for all campuses

Travelling exhibition – first part successful! – interest from Farnham student



UCA Archives to present with Rebecca Andrews, UCA graduate, at LGBT conference, 16th February



Meetings arranged at Eastgate House regarding potential funding bids

Meeting arranged with Kent History Centre regarding LGBT display in March


Billboard Project

Tessa Boffin, Cross dressing project, based on the Jennifer Saunders case. Woman accused of raping females, while pretending to be a man





Archive of the Month – Fashion exam portfolio worbook (post 1966)

Archive of the Month – October

Fashion exam portfolio workbook, Post 1966

This month’s Archive Treasure is a Fashion Exam Portfolio Workbook completed at the Medway College of Design (http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/38034/Medway-College-of-Design)

The series is available for reference at Rochester Library. For access please email archives@ucreative.ac.uk or Rebekah Taylor at rtaylor8@ucreative.ac.uk

Fashion Exam Workbook, Cotton samples

This exam fashion workbook was donated by William Preston, completed by his late wife, Anne Preston. Anne Preston studied at Maidenhead College of Art, and went on to a specific fashion and design course at Medway College of Art in 1966, then after becoming a teacher at Warrenfield School on the Britwell Estate in Slough. She left teaching when she married William Preston as he was to work overseas.

The fashion exam portfolio is a product of its time, and demonstrates fashion and dressmaking trends and techniques in the 1960s, while also giving a condensed history of fashion since the 1800s.

It provides information regarding

1) Taking measurements of the body, with accompanying drawings


  •  Bodice Block
  •  Skirt Block


  •  Underarm dart
  •  French dart
  •  Waist dart
  •  Neck dart


  •  French sleeve
  •  Bishop sleeve
  •  Full sleeve
  •  Cap sleeve

2) Information on history of cotton, silk, flax and wool, with examples of different types, including


  • Slubbing
  • American cotton roll
  • Cleaned cotton
  • Carding


  • Bleached yarn
  • Linen bed spread
  • Natural flax


  • Swaledale
  • Welsh mountain
  • Romney marsh

3) Information on French modelling

4) Information on buttonholes, including buttonhole sketches

5) Images of designs from newspaper clippings from the late 1960s

Medway College of Design Catalogue Online

The Medway College of Design Catalogue is accessible here at http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/38034/Medway-College-of-Design

The Medway College of Design was one of the predecessors to the Kent Institute of Art and Design, and now is Rochester Campus of the University for the Creative Arts. The institute dates from 1853, and dealt with courses regarding design, including art, and fashion, fashion and design being one of Rochester’s specialities today.

The archive dates from 1928 and contains

  • Student fashion shows
  • Press cuttings
  • Student art sketch books from1951-1962
  • Student fashion exam book, 1966, with examples of cotton, wool and silk

Uses can be seen in the subject guides, including Medway local historyart and design, fashion and local architecture