Totnes Fashion & Textiles Museum is in danger of closing or moving out of the area.

The Museum comprises around 5,000 garments and another 35,000 items such as shoes, gloves, jewellery and other accessories, and has been at its current site at Bogan House on the High Street for the past 35 years before which the collections were housed in Dartington and Torbay.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Roger Tilbury explained what happened:

‘Bogan House is owned by the Mitchell Trust and we have had a lease there since 1987.

“The current lease ran out in March this year.

“The Mitchell Trust told us that once the restoration work had been carried out they were thinking of selling the building which came as a great shock.”

This year’s exhibition is going to be called ‘The Cream of the Collection’ and it will open on June 4 showing the very best items and it may be the last time they go on display in Totnes.

They are now looking at where to go next as Roger underlined:

“One of the problems is of the conservation off dresses and costumes, going back to a pair of gloves (gauntlets) from 1650.

“Most of the collection is from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

“The costumes are subject to all sorts of problems with humidity, temperature, light and of course insect infestation.

The Board of Trustees has got an extension of the lease until March 2025

In the meantime they have been looking around first locally then widening the search for new premises.

Roger explained the requirements: “Wherever we go it would have to be adapted to our conservation needs before we move in.

“Otherwise the collection could be ruined.

They will be meeting in July to decide what they do next.

Roger concluded by saying: “We did take a look at wether the National Trust might like some of our items but they are only interested in things with a direct connection with their properties.

An expert from the National Trust restored our 1650 gauntlets.

“Our collection is of items donated from here in Devon.”