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Stories from House of Tartan
A Letter of Renewal

Things are stirring in the sleepy world of tartan. This month started off with my letter of membership renewal. Membership, that is, of the Scottish Tartans Authority, for it is still necessary to carefully distinguish exactly which 'body' you are a member of. Not the 'Scottish Tartan Society', which seems to have dropped out of sight, nothing to do with the 'World Register of Tartans' which is apparently struggling with an identity crisis (It used to be known as The Register of All Publicly Known Tartans).

So, it was a pleasant surprise to receive an update on all that is going on. First of all, that the 'Authority' is actively looking after the registration of Tartans, having completed work on its new database.

I have a picture of the Authority administrator, Brian Wilton (right), with Jamie Scarlett MBE (left) pouring over a box of historic tartan samples from the old Kilbarchan Weaving Mill.

Jamie Scarlett, a prolific author and much revered, senior figure in the world of tartan research, has been busy for many months updating and checking entries in the new database.

Exhibition of Tartan at the Museum of Textiles in Italy

My letter also announced an exciting new exhibition of tartan in Italy at the Museum of Textiles in the old Tuscan city of Prato. Here at House of Tartan we have been beavering away to produce some new computer software which will go on show at the exhibition, which opens in early December.

Discussions with the Scottish Parliament

More surprises - The STA have been taking part in meetings over the last 18 months to persuade MSP's to approve an official government backed Tartan Register - "a long overdue acceptance of the historic importance of tartan, its iconic status around the globe and the vital need to safeguard such records for the Nation."

All in all, I thought it was very interesting and I hope that things are on the mend. Its good to see the STA taking a strong lead in resolving the conflicts that have plagued the tartan world over the past few years.


All the best,
Blair Urquhart

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