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Amazing pictures from our community textile workshops in Birmingham
last century.


The LITE project has been going from strength to strength and some of the important interviews are already underway with former textiles employers and employees. 

This is the outside of Mr Raindi’s factory (left)  in 1980s. Mr Raindi was known as the king of the textiles in Smethwick. “ I supplied to big high stores like Marks and Spensers and had up to 400 people working for me”. Mr Raindi was featured in the Home Front, a book published by Birmingham City Council in 1984.

1970’s style pattern, as part of our digitisation collection.
Mr Som Lal, former West Bromwich based textile worker now runs his own small business in Birmingham. “Textiles is part of my family business, having worked in the textiles sector, it was a natural choice to start my own tailoring services.
Project briefings and promotions at the Afro Caribbean Centre (Sandwell) and  Handsworth Seventh Day Adventist Church with the elders group. The group was enthralled by the project deliverables and are keen to take part in the textile workshops.
“You have brought back the memories, we can’t wait to start" remarked one 75+ year old”.
Community Activists and Managers affiliated with the church standing with Ranbir Kaur (in the middle). “We are proud to have a famous persona like Ranbir working with us” said Ms T. 
"Textiles is part and parcel of our culture, it comes naturally to us”, said one of the group members.
Our briefing at the Shri Dasmesh Temple (Gurdwara) in Lozells, Birmingham. We briefed up to 95 members of the congregants on the day. 3 former textiles workers plus employers volunteered to be interviewed. They all aired the same feeling and expressed how invaluable the LITE project was to the social, cultural and economic heritage history of the
We will also capture oral stories of former textile manufacturers/employers’ whose involvement in this industrial heritage sector was just as important. Their business journeys will be captured via interviews questions such as what life was like, their success, challenges and what did they do once the textile sector started to fade out? What are they doing now?
The post-war contribution of many communities to the textiles industry has not been recorded, preserved, archived or become widely celebrated.
Among speakers at our launch-event were:
  • Professor Monder Ram OBE of Birmingham University, who spoke of his personal involvement in the industry, during his formative years. “CEAL’s capture of this important history, is a recognition of the value-add minorities have brought to this sector”.
  • Chair of the HLF West Midlands Committee and former BBC presenter, Sue Beardsmore, referred to the ongoing investment by the HLF into successful heritage projects in the West Midlands, emphasising continued support to projects such as the LITE. 
  • Raj Sirpal, a former textiles manufacturer, gave a personal account of his involvement in the clothing production trade. He touched on the resilient strategies that were used to counter the negative impact of the economic recession during the 1980s and 1990s and later, that affected textiles manufacturing and other industries, at the time. 
​Why the project is going ahead?
  • To make a significant contribution to the public understanding of textiles heritage.
  • To share the findings of oral interviews.
  • Fill obvious gaps in our knowledge of the West Midlands textiles heritage.
This ground breaking project involves, inter-generational Interviews from different  ethnic backgrounds, former Textile Employer’s Interviews, Publication production, Digitisation of artefacts, Heritage textile skills training and development and touring exhibition in Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
We are also looking for former textile factory employee's and employers to share their stories. If this is you, or anyone you know - please get in touch.
We also welcome anyone with an interest in the project who wants to volunteer to contact us as we have a range of opportunities available.
Exhibition/ project planning with new partners and other local organisations.
   The LITE outreach events to engage with community (2017) Wolverhampton 
Training in October 2017 with some of LITE’s new field workers and volunteers.
The LITE is a heritage project which aims to record,capture, interpret, and disseminate the contributions of mainly South Asian and African and Caribbean backgrounds to textiles manufacturing heritage over the past 60 years from areas in Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.
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