Thursday 10 April 2014

Museum Visit - Sewing Machine

Big ones, little ones, royal ones, decorated, industrial, the list goes on and on.  I never knew so many sewing machines existed and how incredibly enthralling their stories could be.

Want to know how machines work, see Queen Victoria's embroidery sewing machine, know how the most delicate lingerie was sewn, or how shoes and belts were created on the industrial machines? Maybe just a walk down memory lane to see one your gran or the local tailor owned, or maybe it was one of the children's models that will excite you. This is the museum for you all.

Then again maybe just the incredible story behind the museum.  It began after the war when Thomas Albert Rushton started collecting, repairing and selling second hand sewing machines.  It was difficult work as Singer the largest producer of sewing machines hired a team of thugs to smash up old machines.  They did not want a second-hand market.

Thomas's son Ray was just twelve years old when he started helping his father in the business.  This grew into the obsession that became this museum.  It is possibly the biggest and most varied collection of sewing machines in the world.  It includes gems like the Kimball and Morton machine that has the head of a lion and sits on a rosewood box.

His machines have been used in movies and he sends them to collectors all over the world.  Those machines that decorate the clothing stores "All Saints", you guessed it, they all came from Ray.

As I left I spotted the enormous work shop downstairs.  Here you can buy any machine part or accessory for any sewing machine you care to name.  Even the store is a step back into a previous era, nearly as big a treat as the museum itself.

To Visit the London Sewing Machine Museum
nearest tube: Tooting Bec
308-312 Balham High Rd, London SW17 7AA
Phone:020 8767 0036


Adullamite said...

All museums are a good thing!

Luis Gomez said...

These are gorgeous!

Billy Blue Eyes said...

They have come along way from the first had driven ones

Sharon said...

I enlarged that third photo and spotted one or two that looked like the one my grandparents had. I've seen the displays at the All Saints stores and if all their stores have displays like that, it's LOT of sewing machines.

RedPat said...

That looks like such a fun place to visit!

Katharine A said...

Lovely. Thanks. this is on my list of museums to visit. Then will blog about it. Looking forward to it. Wish I used my sewing machine more.

William Kendall said...

The attention to detail's quite lovely!

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