Roubaix – a textile town

Roubaix – a textile town

As lock down is gradually being relaxed we are allowing ourselves 1 day a week to go out and visit “somewhere”. We take a picnic and are avoiding mixing with people, but this week museums have been allowed to open, so we thought it would be a good time to see some we have wanted to go to for quite some time!

the Roubaix Cat

So we headed for Roubaix – now a kind of suburb of Lille, this town is known for it’s textiles. In the 18th and 19th C they were big linen and wool producers, now it’s the super high technical fabrics. The first visit was to La Piscine – it was a timed visit, we had to book the time online the night before – not sure if this is always the situation or it’s because of COVID – 19 but anyway, there was no problem and only a few of us waiting to go in as they opened.

All I can say is WOW! They’ve taken an Art – Deco designed swimming pool and turned it into something very special! The pool has been partially filled in – but there is still a fountain and water there to show the heritage. The building itself and windows are fabulous.

Around the edge of the “pool” as you can see there are sculptures, impressive in their own right, they are not really my thing. The changing rooms and showers are still there, all along both sides, some have been left alone and you can see the soap dishes and shower trays, others have been opened out and joined together to hold more exhibits.

Stained glass is also a feature, which John has an interest in (I like it, but have no skills in making it, he has in the past done some Tiffany work so some of the panels were of particular interest.)

But then we found some real textiles!!! Upstairs in the changing rooms and all around the gallery are volumes and volumes of sample books. The earliest appear to be the late 1800’s then up to the 1930’s – so I guess they will all be the new synthetic dyes that came in after Mr Perkin discovered his Mauveine, but even so they are fabulous. They also have some costumes on display and I guess lots more in the back rooms – I will be investigating in the future!!

For now take a little wander with me through the collections on show … (please excuse the reflections in the glass. I couldn’t find a way to avoid them low down!)

As you can imagine time was a little tight, as we only had the afternoon to wander round both museums – it can often take a whole day in 1 place, particularly if so relevant to us! We will bid a final farewell to the pool

… and move on to La Manufacture, which is as the name suggests an old factory

We were not quite so impressed here – having been to the textile museum in Lille (a long time ago) this one is a bit lacking in info – but they had some interesting looms and equipment.

In the first room was an embroidery exhibition – very modern styling, going for style over substance for me, but I’m sure for the artists it’s perfect!

The embroidery exhibition booklet only gives details of the animals. Being a bit of a philistine most of it left me cold although I was intrigued by the display of hanging frames. The rest of the embroideries I’ll let you decide. (sorry I don’t have more details) Hope you enjoy, I’ll move onto the machinery!

All in all a fascinating day – look forward to going back to La Piscine to see some of the textile books in more detail and finding out more about their costume collection.

Links and references:

La Piscine –

La Manufacture de Roubaix –