Betty Smithers Design Collection at Staffordshire University

Today I visited the Betty Smithers Design Collection in Staffordshire University’s library. The collection is made up of everything from telephones to textiles. Students are allowed to not only view the collection, but also handle the items to really get a feel for the product. You are even allowed to take items out on loan if you wanted to use it for a fashion shoot or a film.

Here is Betty’s daughter being interviewed about the collection. I have also found this interview by Betty herself in The Guardian from 2006. Betty taught fashion at Canterbury college and Stoke-on-Trent college for 20 years and collected vintage clothes that were donated to Staffordshire University.


As I am in the process of launching a childrenswear business I was very interested to see the children’s clothing in the collection, and I wasn’t disappointed. Below are a few of the images I took of some the wonderful items:

Cream Layered Dress (Silk, Edwardian).

Green Dungarees, utilitywear from WWII. Label “British Healthwear”.

Gold Pyjama Top, age 8 (fabric and date unknown).

Nylon Christening Dress (date unknown).


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