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Freelance Learning Curator 

Samuel Morley Programme 

Backlit Gallery, Nottingham UK


Developing a heritage engagement and outreach programme in consultation with communities in Sneinton and St Ann's inspired by the little known Nottinghamshire Victorian textile manufacturer Samuel Morley. 

Who is Samuel Morley?

He was a Victorian textile manufacturer whose business I&R Morley, was based on selling clothing and accessories produced by home workers in the Nottingham area. Samuel Morley commissioned Alfred House, Sneinton, where Backlit is based that was one of I&R Morley’s working factories.

He funded one of the first adult education centre's Morley College London in the 1880's for the working classes. This included “Penny lectures” or 1p talks and lectures for the public. Morley was involved in the anti-slavery movement during the late 18th and 19th century and campaigned for better working conditions for his employees.   

Finding Samuel Morley

5th - 26th June  

With Human Camera

Local residents gained an insight into Morley’s contributions to the city through, discussion and photographing historical sites and buildings related to the Morley legacy. The group continued to meet, and share photographs. They call themselves “The Morley Union” and have set up their own Facebook page.

Morley Fashion Project 

June - July

Led by Costumologists - a creative costuming partnership

Young people (11 - 18+) from St Anns designed their own clothing and accessories and staged a Morley inspired fashion show.  The project took place at Ivy Kenton's (local resident) Urban Fashion Hub, 23 Robin Hood Chase, Nottingham.

Penny Sessions 

3 x Projects

July - September  

Lead artist: Phiona Richards & Gina Mollett (Volunteer)


A medal for Samuel – Designing an award for Morley refused a peerage from the government. 

Routes to work – Bookmaking. Using a map of Sneinton and St Ann’s the group imagined the different routes Morley’s workers would travel to the factories.

Glove making –  Designing and making their own gloves. 

Groups: Nature in Mind, Framework, St Ann's Library knit & stitch group & Women’s Aid Integrated Services.

5. Morley College visit Nov 2015. Photo

Morley College visit. Photo Clare Barton

Community Ambassadors

Local residents assisted with collecting material and stories for the Morley Threads archive, received free oral history training.  They worked with a Digital Technician to film and interview people who had worked at Samuel Morley's factories in Nottingham.

“Morley Union” Community Ambassadors visited The Morley College London in November to meet staff, see more archival material and discuss their experiences of being part of the project.

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery

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