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Elton John's Saville Row silk suit.Kirsty explaining block printing

Pattern to Print.

Wed 19th February 2014

Hall Place, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent DA5 1PQ

A visit was arranged in February for members and friends to Hall Place, Bexley, Kent to see Pattern to Print, the story of David Evans, Crayford’s silk printer.

David Evans moved to Crayford in Kent in 1825 and took over a small printing factory, as well as another premises in Cheapside in London. The Crayford factory quickly grew and became a hub of activity printing on imported silk using the block printing method. The company developed and expanded as time went by and they provided printed silk all over Britain as well as Europe. By the mid 1800s David Evans had produced the Paisley design which is well known and still reproduced today. By the latter 20th century the company had clients such as Holland & Holland, Liberty’s, Turnball and Asser, Dior and Elizabeth Emanuel. When the business closed in 2001 Bexley Museum staff salvaged various items from the site. The public have also donated material.

Member Jennifer Glastonbury writes

I thought Kirsty Maclean, Collections Manager, gave us an excellent tour of the David Evans exhibition. It was impressive that so much stuff had been retrieved from skips when the factory closed. The company's history from block-printing to screen-printing was well-documented and it was lovely to see the equipment used and the printed textiles produced, as well as the photographs of the printers and tierers at work (I have found a definition of the latter as "printer's assistants").

And nice to know that the archives are available for contemporary designers to draw on for their designs. I thought the copy of the suit for Elton John was quite amazing!