WEA's Painted Fabrics project features in The STAR

WEA awarded National Lottery Support to explore Sheffield’s Painted Fabrics story through heritage and creative learning


The Workers’ Educational Association has received a grant of £98,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a 2-year project focusing on Sheffield’s Painted Fabrics Company which was set up in the aftermath of the First World War to provide retraining and employment for injured soldiers.


The project will provide opportunities for people to learn about Painted Fabrics, develop heritage skills and respond to the story through writing, painting, drama, textiles and other art forms. Through exhibitions, publications and a dramatic performance, this unique part of Sheffield’s heritage will be brought to a wider audience. The project will also carry out essential conservation work and to create a digitised photographic archive of the Painted Fabrics collection held by Museums Sheffield allowing on-line public access to the collections for the first time. 


Painted Fabrics is a key part of Sheffield's heritage which is of national significance. It was established by Annie Bindon Carter in 1923 following her encounters with injured servicemen at Wharncliffe War Hospital during the First World War. The company provided an opportunity for these men - many of whom had worked in local heavy industry prior to the war - to regain meaningful employment as well as personal dignity. The company sold its products - ranging from cushions to couture - through outlets in the UK and abroad, including Liberty's of London, as well as at high-profile exhibitions (at places such as Claridge's, Wentworth Woodhouse and Sheffield Cutler's Hall) which became society fixtures during the inter-war years.