WELCOME TO THE WELSH ARCHIVE

Get an exclusive glimpse inside our Laura Ashley Welsh archive and meet our archivist...

Steeped in nostalgia and heritage, stepping in to the Welsh archive transports you back to the sights and smells of Laura Ashley back when Laura and husband Bernard first printed floral scarves on their kitchen table. An old photograph of Laura Ashley sitting at her desk hangs above the door-way to the archivist’s office, fabric covered photo albums and books decorate the shelves, folders of fabric swatches pile high and romantic imagery from the 1970’s adorn the walls.

Before each article in the archive is carefully stored away into it’s appropriate box (there are floor to ceiling boxes of Laura Ashley treasures), it is photographed and described for our designer database. The archive has become our most invaluable resource for both the home and fashion design team, taking snippets of inspiration from our past (whether it be an interesting print, motif, vintage fragrance or even a photograph) and reinventing in a fresh modern way for today.

Ann the Archivist’s desk adorned with pretty postcards

Visitors are always greeted with a cheery welcome from our in-house archivist Ann who has overseen the smooth running of our highly secured archive for the last 10 years. Trying to browse the archive often instills this overwhelming feeling of ‘where to start?’ so we caught up with Ann to find out more about the ‘best bits’ in a small but insightful Q+A…

 

Tell us about your favourite pieces from the archive and why?

There are so many pieces we hold here in Wales that it’s very hard to pick my favourite! Even now I find myself opening boxes and coming across old garments and thinking they are still fab. Anyway, I’m very fond of the porcelain doll that we did from the 1980’s which I think bears a slight resemblance to Laura…

 

The most fascinating inspiration prints are stored at our London archive (where the designers are based) but I adore these trees, dog and deer prints…

There is also a great poster, from the 1970’s, showing a young girl in an over-sized coat with a heraldic print and the words “Actually it’s a Laura Ashley”. This made me smile when I very first saw it as it’s so quirky and fun for it’s time!

 

The kindest archive donation you have received?

The most interesting donation is a scarf from 1954 which is now the oldest piece in the Archive.  The scarf, as you will see from the image, is a very simple print but I like the idea that someone has held onto it for so long and didn’t throw it way.

Who is your most memorable visitor?

Last October Jane Ashley (Laura Ashley’s daughter) visited the archive for the first time (lots of our employees here in the Welsh offices have been with the company for almost 40 years and knew Jane when she was just a teenager so they were very excited)- she was definitely the person I have been most happy to see. I have met Jane before but it was nice seeing her here in the Archive and reminiscing about the past. She stayed a couple of hours and liked seeing the pictures that are in my office and the large photographs on top of the cupboards (a lot of which she took herself- being the Ashley family photographer back in the 1970’s and 80’s). She was also especially keen to see the personal press cuttings of her and her family from the 60’s and 70’s.

Jane Ashley photograph from the 1970’s

 

If you have any old vintage Laura Ashley items that you would like to kindly donate to the archive where they will be looked after and treasured please contact our London archivist on 020 7880 5379

26 Comments

Wow this is like a vintage lover dream. Just to be able to see all those gorgeous prints in one place is wonderful :) One day I would love to visit!

This is a really brilliant snapshot of Laura Ashley. I have been wearing the clothes and decorating my houses with home furnishings since 1970’s when I was a teenager. I will look out some of my fabrics etc and see if I have anything worth donating, as I cannot bear to get rid of things!

Will they ever repeat the bamboo patterned wallpaper from the late 1990’s – I had it in duckegg blue but cannot get it now – I still have some rolls left if you need a sample?

Hi…my fav is the porcelain doll … I got the last one at the leeds branch in august 1984 for my birthday..it was actually modelled on laura ashley .. Icstill have mine its never been out of the box..i truly love it..I asked about 15 yrs ago in shops if they knew of any around and noone knew what I was talking about and didn’t know they’d done a doll lol..I wonder how many are still around and like mine haven’t been out of box?

Newly married in August, 1977, my husband and I sailed across the North Atlantic on our honeymoon aboard the Polish ocean liner, the Stephan Batori,from Montreal where we disembarked at Tilbury and, thereafter made our way by train to Oxford where my husband was to study at Exeter College for the BCL. We rented a house for the year from the college on Beaumont Buildings . Within a stone’s throw of our little abode , I discovered, to my absolute delight, a Laura Ashley shop situate on Little Clarendon Street. One of my fav purchses there was a light blue /lavender button-up the front thin flannel dress with a high ruffled collar and long sleeves. I still have this sweet little number and am pleased to say that it stiil fits me and is as becoming as it was those 35 years ago, especially with high sandalsand my British straw hat. I just wish we had a shop here in Halifax, Nova Scotia!!! This dress has given me lots of fantastic memories and I love it to this very day !

I WAS WONDERING WHEN AND WHERE CAN WE GET LAURA ASHLEY DRESSES MADE OF LAURA ASHLEY PRINTS THE ARCHIEVE ONES
CONTEMPORARY STYLE MAY BE THE NEW COLLABORATION SHOULD MAKE FROM LAURA ASHLEY PRINTS BEAUTIFUL BRIDES MADE DRESSES OR SIGNATURE DRESSES WITH PUFF SLEEVES AND SQUARE NECK AND BOW AT THE BACK LIKE THE ONES THEY PREVIOUSLY SOLD

I had two Laura Ashley floral gypsy skirts purhased in the 1980s. They were so easy to wear and so pretty. Would it be possible to go back into your archives and produce these again? It is a shape and style any age can wear.

I bought a Laura Ashley doll in 1985 from the Birmingham city centre shop, it too was the very last one – £10. – she’s still in her box. I was 6/7 months pregnant at the time with my first and only child. It must have been an omen as I had a daughter. I also bought Dandelion furnishing fabric in terracotta, green and cream for dining room curtains and valances together with co-ordinating tablecoth, placemats and cushion covers which are still in the loft. In those days you sold packets of sizeable patchwork pieces and some of those found their way home with me as well. I shopped during my lunch hour and my lovely boss gave me extra time as he knew it would be busy. I met an old schoolfriend I hadn’t seen for years in the very long queue, she was 8 months pregnant, and it took ages to reach the till. My boss was so worried he phoned the shop to see if a a pregnant woman had been taken to hospital! (the era before mobile phones…..) I managed to locate another doll in the Stratford upon Avon shop the next day (also the last one )which we gave to a Niece as part of her 21st Birthday present. I have catalogues going back to the late 80’s and my daughter, now a Textile Designer(Weaving), loves to look through them and uses my LA remnants – and so we have the next generation of LA lovers………….

Thank you for this lovely reminder of Laura Ashley’s history. I have a number of dresses I bought in the 70’s and 80’s. I have recently modified a lovely summer dress from the 80s to fit my me now. It is still lovely ands I still feel great in it. Thank you for the achive site and I would love to visit sometime in the future.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories Jan. It would be great to see a picture of your dress from the 80’s – I know our archivist would love to see it too! If you ever get a spare min please email it to our social media manager: kate.allchin@lauraashley.com Have a lovely day, Kate

loved the tiered floral skirts with elasticated waist anddrop waist dresses from the late 1980 s- please bring them back!

is there anywhere i can get some of the wallpaper featured here?
i had a a dark blue print adorning my teenage bedroom and would adore the maroon version for my daughter ?
please please they are so amazing x

Please could you tell me where I can source Laura Ashley 1985 vintage Stitchwort country furnishing cotton, kind regards Chris.

I have been a fan of Luara Ashley since the 70’s and my bridesmaids wore Luara Ashley dresses (I still have one that was never worn and still has the label on it)
I was also wondering if yopu could source some wallpaper for me It is Howell in the lichen colour way I used in a previous home and would love to use it again Any chance of it coming back?

I have just discovered your archive page. I have been searching for anyone who has a Laura Ashley doll as no body that I have spoken to think that they exist. I have two in boxes and I am pleased to have seen one of them on your page today.
I also bought my Laura Ashley wedding dress and bridesmaids dress from your Knightsbridge store in 1973. The shop no longer exists but I still have both dresses.
In the mid 80s I used your bespoke design service to make some wonderful large curtains with bullion edges and swags to match. I kept one very large set. I have recently moved and when I went through some boxes today I found my sons bed throw and cushion in the green paisley which I just wanted to keep. I am looking to refurbish my new home with your new colours and fabrics. Its been quite lovely to have bought so many things from you these past 40 years.
My daughter must have been inspired by fabrics around the house as she specialised in technology textiles as a fabric designer and went on to be employed in one of Englands last existing traditional weaving mills.
South Nutfield Surrey

Have two tea towels c.1966 plus two small pieces original templates for screen print (framed) and one blouse c.1967. The tea towels are not the theatre type but Laura’s first attempt at self drawing. Ie coin design and square design. May also have some samples of prints of that era.

Help please. I am trying to find a Laura Ashley advertising postcard from many years ago which showed an elderly couple and their dog outside a stately home.
Any chance you still have it ?
Many thanks. Sue

HI I was wondering if I sent you a photo of a fabric sample from the 1980’s could you name it for me please?
Thank you very much
Maggie

I have some Laura Ashley fabric that was part of some curtains that I would like to identify as I’ve looked all over the internet and I can’t see it anywhere. All it says in it is “Laura Ashley” MCMXCV I could upload a photograph of a tote I made with it, but I’m not sure how. Thanks for all your help. xxx

Hello

I have been doing some research on the Internet and came across your website.

I have in my possession a 1960/1970 Laura Ashley Wedding Dress, one of which I cannot see on your website.

It’s in immaculate condition with all the original buttons and unspoiled lace detail.

I am looking for someone who as passionate as yourself, in Laura Ashley Wedding dresses, in whom I can trust to sell this beautiful gown to.

I look forward to hearing from you by response.

Many thanks for your time and attention.

Kind Regards

Giuseppina Anderson

Hi,
I have been given a Laura Ashley apron which is similar to some wallpaper I had in the 1980s. I am trying to find the name of the fabric but no luck so far. If I sent a photo would you be able to identify it for me? Many thanks!

Leave us a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>