Haberdashers' Company Helps Preserve the Future of Hand Embroidery

For the past 23 years the Company has been supporting the work of the Royal School of Needlework as they keep the art and techniques of hand embroidery alive.

Offering the only full time degree specialising in hand embroidery in Europe, the Royal School of Needlework is a unique and special organisation. Not only do their specialist embroiderers expertly restore and conserve valuable and historic pieces, they also create new embroidery for fashion, art and royalty.

The Company supports the School’s Future Tutors programme. This is an intensive, highly immersive programme of teaching which enables students to carve out successful careers as embroidery artisan and tutors, teaching the next generation of hand embroiders. 

It was a considerable challenge to teach such an intricate art using online techniques during the pandemic. However, the School continued its teaching during the various lockdowns and used creative and innovative approaches to ensure that the quality of teaching and the students’ outputs remained high.

RSN’s Chief Executive, Susan Kay-Williams, reflects, ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has made this year one of the most challenging years that the RSN has faced in its 150-year history. We have worked hard to overcome the many obstacles put in our way. We fully intend to be here still at the end of all this’.

Some of the teaching strategies they have adopted during the pandemic will be utilised by the staff in the future. The use of visualisers and recordings of classes will continue to be useful additions to the teaching programme.

Thanks to Margot Chaundler, Liveryman, for her role as Company Contact for RSN.



Future Tutors students successfully transferred intricate 19th century embroidery onto new fabric for the restoration of an Au Bon Marche chair (photo credit: RSN Studio)

Au Bon Marche chair detail ©RSN Studio 2021


Secret Garden by Chloe Drew  ©RSN Studio 2021


Secret Garden by Chloe Drew detail  ©RSN Studio 2021