Manchester College of Technology Dyeing, Printing and Finishing Department printed calico cotton cloth apprentice piece
Sample of bleached calico cotton cloth printed with an image of the Manchester College of Technology’s dyehouse, with a floral design and the words ‘Manchester College Dyeing, Finishing and Printing Dept.’
This cloth sample is believed to be a student piece, created by a pupil at the Manchester College of Technology learning dyeing, bleaching and printing techniques. It most likely dates from between 1918, when the college got its name and 1950, after which the dyehouse was replaced with a new building.
The College of Technology’s dyehouse was constructed in 1903. As well as dyeing facilities, it also had a small-scale bleaching, calico-printing and finishing works. It was described in an article in the Manchester Guardian in 1903 as ‘one of the most remarkable features of the institution’ and ‘probably the best workshop of its kind possessed by any technological college in this country or abroad’. Students could attend from aged 15, either on a three-year, full-time course, or on short or evening courses that fitted with their employment.
Students at the college received a broad grounding in the sciences in their first year, before going on to specialise in a particular aspect of industrial chemistry. Students studying dyeing and finishing then went on to practical training in the dyehouse, learning about the preparation and analysis of dyes, processes including bleaching and mercerising, as well as printing techniques. It is likely that this cloth piece was bleached by students before being printed using a dye prepared by pupils.
The Dyeing, Finishing and Printing Department sat within the Department of Chemistry at the college. The college had its origins in the Mechanics Institute set up in 1824. It became the Manchester Technical School in 1883 before being renamed the Manchester College of Technology after the First World War. It became UMIST in 1966, merging with Manchester University 10 years later.
- Textile Industry
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