Crutchley family dyeing business records, 1720s-1740

The Crutchley family were dyers in the 18th century with dye-works in Southwark, located near the south bank of the Thames between Clink Street and Deadman’s Place.

Fourteen of the Crutchley’s dyeing and business account books dating from around 1716-1744 and associated with John Crutchley (acquisition no. 2011/5), were retained by the family. In 2011 Crutchley’s descendants donated this collection to the Southwark Local History Library and Archive after some parts became water-damaged during storage.

The three books selected as conservation priorities are the earliest in the collection. They include a recipe book with instructions for dyeing broadcloth, a pattern book and an ingredient book, all with dyed samples.  It is rare that material culture relating to dyed textile production of this type and period survives, as a provenanced collection in such good condition and extent.

The Crutchley archive presents a rich study resource for historians of textile production, dyes and dyeing, dress and textile history, fashion, economics and business.  This interest is evidenced by a research project that began in 2014, undertaken by Dr. Anita Quye (Senior Lecturer in Conservation Science, Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow), Dr Dominique Cardon and Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul and funded by The Dyers’ Company. 

The three books will be treated for mould, the pages cleaned and resized, and loose dye samples will be fixed. When the books are in a stable condition and fit for handling they will digitised. 

After conservation the historical research can be developed further and we will be able to work with local residents and charities to reproduce the dye samples using the recipes. Geographically, it will also allow us to discover how far the Crutchley business extended onto the Continent.  

The great importance of this collection was recognised in 2019, when the collection was inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register

2018
Dyeing recipes from the 1720’s in Flemish and English.
Dyeing recipes from the 1720’s in Flemish and English.
Detail showing condition prior to conservation.
Detail showing condition prior to conservation.
Detail showing condition prior to conservation.
Detail showing condition prior to conservation. Images courtesy of LB Southwark.