Textile Conservation Centre to close down

Henrietta Clancy, Issue 107/12, p4, December 2007
Experts fear that the closure of university centre spells trouble for conservation education
The Textile Conservation Centre (TCC), a leading centre for the education of textile conservators and research into textile conservation, is to shut.

Various organisations have been working with the TCC in recent months in an effort to try and save the centre.

The TCC is situated on the Winchester campus of the University of Southampton. In a statement released by the university, the TCC announced that the phased closure is to begin in summer 2008, with full closure taking place once all the centre's students have finished their courses.

The TCC's postgraduate course is unique in combining conservation consultancy, professional training research and development.

Alastair McCapra, the chief executive of the Institute of Conservation, said it was a serious blow for conservation education in the UK. "It had such an international reputation and was hugely successful," he said. "It raises fears about the security of other conservation courses and I am concerned what the closure means for conservation education."

Vivien Chapman, head of organics conservation at the National Conservation Centre in Liverpool, said: "Without the centre, there will be limited textile conservators coming on to the market.

"There is a marked difference in skills between the conservators who have been on the TCC course and those who have done a more general object-based archaeology course."

Henrietta Clancy