A cottony discussion!

how india clothed the world -snip

It was great to meet Esme and Sacha on a clear lovely day in Sheffield. The skies were blue and all was gay at the Weston Park cafe as I took a quick lunch break to meet up with our cotton researchers. Among other things we found the title of this book wonderful- ‘How India clothed the world’ – quite literally it seems, the more we look into history, the more we are discovering about how global trade has been and continues to be! The title also reminded me of recent documentary I had watched which said India is the world’s pharmacy! – ( Fire in the Blood, directed by Dylan Mohan Gray)

– Chamu Kuppuswamy [27-2-2013]  

Antique Indian silk exhibition

tussar saree 3

We are hearing of more connections between the English countryside and Indian industry. Sir Thomas Wardle from Macclesfield made many trips to India during the 19th century developing dyeing techniques for silk. He worked on Tussur silk and produced a range of tussur yarns dyed with permanent, unfading  jewel colours.  Demand for India’s silk yarns  grew and exports to Britain and Europe became a big business for India’s  producers. Wardle’s wife, Elizabeth, founded the Leek Embroidery Society and perfected stitching techniques that enhanced the colours on the tussur yarn. This summer there is going to be an exhibition of these unique silk embroideries, thanks to Maggi Rowland for getting in touch with us about this exhibtion. We look forward to getting touch with you and discovering more about your project!

Steering Group meeting on the 20th of Feb

Our Steering group:L to R : (top) Mr.Bhupendra, Dr. Naik, Chamu, Dr. Patel, Saravannan, Dr. Esme

(bottom) Kimberly, Swetha, Suruchi,and Sandeep.


Our meeting is going very well, fueled by coffee walnut cake! Two pieces for Dr.Patel !

Writing this from the Boardroom of Mappin Building, introducing the joys of blogging to the steering committee!

The meeting went very well.  The steering had the chance to meet with Dr. Esme  ( our historian expert at Univ of Sheffield ) and Kimberly ( co-ordinator at Researching Community Heritage at Univ of Sheffield).

At the meeting, we discussed almost all the points we had pinned down in the agenda – including deciding on the dates for the coach trips, workshops, etc and also got to know about how to publicize our work and what media exposure we have had until now.

It was a good start .  !!

Dr. Esme Cleall is our consultant British Empire historian


Esme Cleall,  Lecturer in the History of the British Empire, joined the department of History at the University of Sheffield in September 2012, having previously studied history at the University as both an undergraduate and an MA student. Her PhD was undertaken at UCL and completed in November 2009. Since then she has worked at UCL as a teaching fellow and at the University of Liverpool as a lecturer in Modern History before returning to Sheffield.

She works on the social and cultural history of the British Empire; the politics of difference; and race and disability in nineteenth-century Britain.

For more on Esme’s research see http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/staff/esme-cleall

‘Artcore’ contacts us about their ‘water’ theme


The river Manifold as it flows alongside the handsome Ilam Hall in the sourthern part of the Peak District National Park

Our project has caught the attention of ‘Artcore’, an organisation making links between communities in Derby and India, based on art! Their theme for this year is ‘water’ and that fits with our cotton side of the project where water power was key to the success of the cotton industry! This is just the start it seems, there are other links to be explored, Artcore works in communities from Gandhi’s state of Gujarat!  Look up Artcore’s exciting projects at artcoreuk.com

Chamu Kuppuswamy