"To promote and encourage the art of embroidery and related crafts and encourage the creation of fine articles incorporating the use of or associated with embroidery.
To educate the public in the history and art of embroidery and to undertake or support research in that subject and to publish the useful results of that research.
To collect, document, preserve, exhibit and interpret, examples of fine embroidery which are of historical or educational merit and to make available to the public such articles."
In 1924 HM Queen Mary became the Guild's first Royal Patron. Most recently HRH the Duchess of Gloucester graciously became the Guild's Royal Patron in 2005, following the death of HRH the Princess Alice in October 2004. On 8th May 1964 the Guild became a Registered Charity and in 1986 Registered Museum Status was achieved in recognition of the standard of management applied to its collection embroideries. The collection is of national significance as a resource for artists and students. It consists of over 11,000 world embroideries dating from the Coptic period to the present day, and includes a major collection of British embroidery.
The Guild also has a collection of over 2,500 titles including 600 reference books available to both Embroiderers' Guild Members and the public within the library and 2,000 loan books (temporarily suspended) which provide a rich source of research material for students and members.
In 2006, a century after its founding, the Guild had over 25,000 Members and subscribers throughout the world, 236 Branches and 85 Young Embroiderers Groups for young Members aged between 5 - 18 years.
Today the Embroiderers' Guild is in crisis.
For the past 25 years the Embroiderers' Guild has been located in apartments at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey. In recent years great effort and resource was dedicated to establishing a National Embroidery and Textile Centre but following an exhaustive review of the proposed NET Centre, the Trustees established that the project posed an unacceptable risk to the long-term future of the Guild and decided to withdraw project. Vast sums of money gathered by years of fund raising were lost. The Embroiderers' Guild licence at Hampton Court is due to expire imminently. The Embroiderers' Guild, its collection and its library face the very real prospect of becoming homeless by the end of this year.
Given the current economic situation, is the fate of a charity concerned entirely with embroidery and textiles significant?
Does all responsibility for preserving such a collection and resource lay in the hand of the membership, or is it of sufficient social and historical value that Government or the likes of the Heritage Lottery Fund should assist in it's preservation?
Is there an historical building, themselves struggling to survive, that might benefit from a partnership with the Guild? How do we find them?