Patchwork quilt made from S&J Watts fabric samples
- around 1950 in Greater Manchester
Patchwork quilt, made from S&J Watts fabric samples, Manchester, around 1950.
This patchwork quilt was made using fabric samples from S&J Watts & Co. wholesale drapers, based on Portland Street in Manchester, in the 1950s. They were originally part of fabric sample binders used by William Macauley, who worked as a commerical wholesale traveller for the company from around 1914 to the late 1950s, supplying drapers’ shops with S&J Watts textile products. He gave samples of discontinued fabrics no longer needed on his sales rounds to his wife Emily, who used them to make household furnishings like this quilt. The samples are representative of the type of home furnishing fabrics S&J Watts sold between around 1945- late 1950s and show a range of different styles. They represent different weaving processes, including plain weave, twill weave and basket weave, as well as more complex techniques including armure, damask and brocade. The fabrics were created locally by designers and manufacturing firms under contract by S&J Watts. Fabrics would have been purchased wholesale by drapers and then sold to customers to make items like curtains, cushions and bedspreads. S&J Watts were one of Manchester’s largest wholesale drapers supplying the domestic market, and their warehouse and salesroom on Portland Street was one of Manchester’s grandest.