The Old Chapel Textile Centre (OCTC) is a voluntary community project providing space for needlework and textile courses, workshops, exhibitions and special events, and is the home of the National Needlework Archive and the ‘Country Wife’ mural.
The OCTC is situated on the Greenham Business Park in Newbury and features an exhibition gallery, workrooms, library, small haberdashery shop and tearoom. There is a full programme of exhibitions, workshop, courses and special events taking place between February and December – details available on the website, with regular updates on our facebook page.
Open February to December, from Tuesday to Thursday 10am to 4pm and 10am to 4pm on the first Saturday of the month. We also open the centre some other Saturdays, Sundays, and evenings as advertised for workshops, classes and events. Appointments and group bookings available outside of these times on request.
What is the National Needlework Archive?
The National Needlework Archive (NNA) was founded in 1998 as a charity and moved to The Old Chapel in 2010. The NNA maintains a documentary and photographic record of textiles located in the community throughout the United Kingdom. The archive is used for research, and helps raise the profile and esteem of textiles housed in public, or semi-public places, and those owned by community groups or associations.
The NNA is highlighting the historical, sociological and design value of this vast resource of textile art.In addition, the NNA keeps a library of textile related books, magazines, instruction leaflets, dress and knitting patterns, and items relating to other textile related crafts. Our study collection includes textile articles, machines and tools, haberdashery and laundry items.
We also keep a dedicated collection of WI textiles. We keep books and articles from any decade.The NNA promotes contemporary textile art, education, and exhibition; catalogues collections in corporate and private hands, records the work of individual and professional textile artists; assists with textile art re-housing should this become necessary, and records the stories of teachers and textile workers for posterity.
The chapel offers a great work space, educational space, as well as housing a growing collection of historical needlecraft items and database. We aim to include all areas of the community in education and promotion of all aspects of needlecraft and textile art.
What is the Country Wife?
‘The Country Wife’ textile mural was designed by Constance Howard and was made by her, and some of her students at Goldsmiths College, for the Country Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951. Many of the craftwork features on the mural were made by members of the WI who were experts in such fields as glove making, canework, and embroidery. At the close of the Festival the mural was given to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and it was housed at Denman College in Oxfordshire until February 2009 when it was transferred to the WI Collection at The National Needlework Archive. Project sponsors include: Greenham Common Trust, Michell Instruments Ltd. and Conservation by Design. Find out more about the Country Wife mural on our website.
Visit our shop
We take in donations of anything textile related from machines to patterns, the items are looked over and if suitable they will be placed in the archive or study collections. When we receive items not needed in the archive, we place them on sale in our shop, books, fabric, wool, threads, needlecraft ‘make and do’ kits of all sorts as well as a range of haberdashery.
Old or new we place all usable items in our shop and sell for a very reasonable price. All funds collected goes towards the costs incurred and help to keep the archive and the country wife safe and available for viewing. If you are looking for any needlecraft items come and see us first we may have just what you need at a fraction of the cost.
Join the team
Volunteers are welcome any time for as long and as often as you wish. We could not operate without our volunteers: they work on the country wife, in the library, in the tearoom, at workshops, in the shop, in the office and at events inside and outside of the Chapel. If you have free time to give, please contact us, you don’t have to be a needlecraft person to offer help! We welcome men and women alike, young or not so young, just bring a smile and willingness to help.
The Old Chapel Textile Centre
Greenham Business Park
To view a map and directions to OCTC, please look on our website.
Telephone: 01635 38740
The National Needlework Archive is a Registered Charity – No. 1136942