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Gloucester Cathedral part of new community project

Threads Gloucester Cathedral Voices

Voices Gloucester and Gloucester Cathedral call for participants in one of the city’s largest ever community projects
A Costume for Gloucester is a new project that aims to showcase Gloucester’s unique heritage, and local people are being asked to take part by submitting items of clothing that have a story to tell.
Between Thursday 25 May and Friday 9 June 2023, Gloucester Services will be bursting at the seams whilst it hosts a preview of this trailblazing project, which has been put together by Voices Gloucester in collaboration with Gloucester Cathedral. Designed by locally-based costumier Katie Taylor and forming part of Threads 2023, A Costume for Gloucester celebrates the city’s diverse people, eclectic history and fascinating stories.
More than 100 stitchers, including members of community groups and other partner organisations, are currently busy sewing embroidered sections of the costume. Once completed, it will be worn in the Gloucester Day parade before going on display in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral between 15 September and 1 October 2023. It will be accompanied by a number of personal items of clothing, as well as a photography exhibition in the Cloister highlighting additional garments that have a story to tell.
People travelling through Gloucester Services this month will have the opportunity to see a preview of this project, alongside an invitation to get involved. Anyone living in Gloucester is encouraged to submit an item of clothing, or a photograph of a treasured item, with a short description of what it means to them; a selection of items will then be included as part of the project. Full details and a submission form can be found at
“What is especially lovely about clothes is the stories they carry,” says Jo Teague, a local community artist, who is charged with bringing all the community contributions together. “We revere certain historical apparel, like crowns, but imagine the tales those jeans worn to 90s raves can tell – they can testify to a whole period of cultural history. Or the ‘something old’ elements passed down through generations of brides. I’ll often ask people, what’s the oldest item in your wardrobe? Why do you keep it, and what tales are hidden inside those pockets? Submit that item to be part of our exhibition, along with around 200 words about what it means to you.”
The region’s connection to clothing goes back further than Beatrix Potter’s Tailor of Gloucester. From the 1500s up until the 20th century, everyone in the UK wore a hat, and many of them were made here in Gloucestershire; in particular, Gloucester’s Westgate Street was known for its thriving textile industry. It was often hard labour, using dangerous chemicals – hence the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’, one of many garment-related terms that still forms part of our language today.
“Gloucester is an amazingly creative and diverse city, and one of the ways that is expressed is through the clothes we wear,” adds Canon Rebecca Lloyd, Gloucester Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor and Director of Learning and Participation. “A Costume for Gloucester celebrates this rich diversity and history of our city – I’d encourage everyone to add their voice, photos, clothing and ideas to the mix, and to come and see it here at the Cathedral later this year.”

Explore Gloucestershire
25 May 2023


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