2007-08-08 : Surely the jewel in the tourism crown of London
Seemingly undeterred by the now legendary trip to Crufts, Dan said “Hey wouldn't it be funny to go visit the London Sewing Machine Museum – it's just near my new house!”. Here follows a list of the reasons why it wasn't fun.
The museum was housed in the unlikely looking Wimbledon Sewing Centre – certainly doesn't look like a museum from the outside.
However the eyecatching sign at the front gate caught our attention and lured us in. I must stress what a rare privilege it is to visit, as the museum's only open one Saturday per month.
Inside you'll be stunned at the variety of sewing machines on display, ranging from the late 1800's, all the way through to the mid 1970's.
The man offered us free run of the promotional & informative newsletters sprinkled around, however with luggage space being at a premium we politely declined. We did however see some startling bits of technology, such as a sewing machine built into a folding desk – presumably from a time of yesteryear when people were forced to sew covertly, for fear of retribution from municipal officials.
Though I'm reticent to steal the thunder of the museum's centrepiece – there is a sewing machine that was especially built for the daughter of Queen Victoria, Vicky. The bobbins are carved from ivory, and the footplate has an elaborate engraving of Kensington Palace on it. It's quite stunning. As we were leaving, two women in their autumn years entered the museum, and the curator excitedly offered to show them this amazing piece. Sensibly, they elected to hold this wonder in reserve until the end of their visit. My photo certainly does its majesty no justice.
Quite simply, this was the most comprehensive collection of sewing machines – certainly as far as I'd ever seen. I'd go so far as to say I found it as captivating as the Gangalook Clock Museum formerly of Rockhampton, Queensland, although it doesn't begin to hold a candle to the Koppio Tractor Museum.
Still, a good day out. It's only a shame the nearby Mosaic Centre wasn't open as well – that surely would have been the icing on the cake!