Trade Cloth

Since its introduction to the global market, communities around the world have used European made wool cloth in place of traditional materials in the making and decorating of clothing and other items.

This theme focuses on cloths imported by the Hudson’s Bay Company trading from the late 1600s with Native Americans in northern North America, and the British East India Company which traded widely in Asia from the 17th century.

Most content comes from an exhibition held at RAMM. This was inspired by tradecloth, used on objects in the Museum’s World Cultures collection and research undertaken by conservator Morwena Stephens, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB). The exhibition ran from 8 May to 4 September 2004 and continued at The Museum in the Park, Stroud, 8 October 2005 – 16 April 2006.


Thanks are due to Cory Willmott of the University of Manitoba, Susan Heald and Dominique Cocuzza of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Carolyn Corey textile dyer and historian, Ian Mackintosh of the Stroudwater Textile Trust, Susan Hayward of Museum in the Park, Stroud, Sherry Doyal, Conservator and Geoffrey Slater from Coldharbour Mill Museum for helping to develop and inform the research for this exhibition.

We are grateful to Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Tabitha Cadbury, Curatorial Assistant for Anthropology for the loan of the ‘Stroud’ strap dress.

Thank you to all the staff and volunteers in the partner organisations who have worked hard to make the project happen.

Generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund made the exhibition and associated activities possible, with additional support from the AHRB Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies.