medium and larger towns in the UK boast municipal museums, and
surprisingly a large number of these have rare and desirable sewing
machines within. Sadly, a passing visit to many of these establishments
yields few or no machines at all.
There are various reasons for this sad state of affairs, lack
of display space being the most common cause. To be fair, well-run
museums do rotate their exhibits, so if sewing machines are present,
they do see the light of day occasionally.
many curators seem to have a very limited knowledge of sewing
machine history. Consequently, should the odd machine be displayed,
a common Singer New Family is likely to reach the public gallery,
whilst a far rarer and more interesting machine is left languishing
in the storeroom.
years ago, I visited Doncaster Museum, the hope was that I would
find an example of the locally produced rare Hopkinson Brothers
machine. Disappointingly, only one sewing machine was displayed,
this being a bog standard Willcox & Gibbs. To add insult to
injury, it was incorrectly labelled as a Singer. Inquiries of
the staff revealed that more machines were in store. After some
delicate negotiation, an escorted trip into a vast loft store
A number of desirable models were discovered, together with not
one, but five Hopkinson machines, all with many years of undisturbed
dust on them.