York & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
(Reg. Charity No. 519097)


In medieval England there were many specialist craft guilds associated with the textile trade, Guilds of Carders, Spinners, Dyers, Weavers and Fullers to name but a few. The guilds united workmen of the same craft and were comprised of masters, journeymen and apprentices. A high standard of craftsmanship was required to protect the reputation of the Guild as well as to guarantee a good product for the customer. These guilds were dying out by the end of the 16th Century as a consequence of capitalism and later, industrialisation.

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New beginnings

In 1960 a small group of weavers and textile teachers in Yorkshire called a meeting for people who were interested in forming a Guild. On 2 October 1960 the inaugural meeting took place at the School of Art in York and the York and District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers was formed. The aims of the Guild are to promote the three crafts of weaving, spinning and dyeing, but there are many other aspects of textiles which are of interest to our members, e.g. history of textiles and its tools, animals for fibre, knitting, embroidery, silk painting, papermaking, crocheting, braiding, felt-making, lace-making, making toys, textile painting, basketry, making the tools of our trade, and of course designing.

The Guild’s geographic area extends from Hull to Leeds and Harrogate, and up to Teeside and down the corresponding length of coastline. A bi-monthly newsletter is sent to all our members, full of information, with a copy of the minutes of the previous Guild Meeting.

We are affiliated to the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers that links Guilds nationwide. The Association organises events and a Summer School. It also produces quarterly an excellent Journal that can be ordered through Guilds or individually. There is an Association web site which gives information about the Association and the activities of other Guilds.


50th birthday celebration

In 2010 York Guild celebrated its 50th birthday. A special banner was created to mark the event. Master minded by Dot S many Guild members helped in its construction. The idea is based on a Kente cloth with woven strips separated by inkle woven bands with lettering. The head of the banner is tapestry woven. It was unveiled at the end of 2010.

Last updated: 15 July 2016
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