Voices Gloucester and Gloucester Cathedral call for participants in one of the city’s largest ever community projects

A Costume for Gloucester is a new project that aims to showcase Gloucester’s unique heritage, and local people are being asked to take part by submitting items of clothing that have a story to tell

(Image credit: David Grange)

Between Thursday 25 May and Friday 9 June 2023, Gloucester Services will be bursting at the seams whilst it hosts a preview of this trailblazing project, which has been put together by Voices Gloucester in collaboration with Gloucester Cathedral. Designed by locally-based costumier Katie Taylor and forming part of Threads 2023, A Costume for Gloucester celebrates the city’s diverse people, eclectic history and fascinating stories.  


More than 100 stitchers, including members of community groups and other partner organisations, are currently busy sewing embroidered sections of the costume. Once completed, it will be worn in the Gloucester Day parade before going on display in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral between 15 September and 1 October 2023. It will be accompanied by a number of personal items of clothing, as well as a photography exhibition in the Cloister highlighting additional garments that have a story to tell.


People travelling through Gloucester Services this month will have the opportunity to see a preview of this project, alongside an invitation to get involved. Anyone living in Gloucester is encouraged to submit an item of clothing, or a photograph of a treasured item, with a short description of what it means to them; a selection of items will then be included as part of the project. Full details and a submission form can be found at www.voicesgloucester.org.uk/voices-events/threads/


“What is especially lovely about clothes is the stories they carry,” says Jo Teague, a local community artist, who is charged with bringing all the community contributions together. “We revere certain historical apparel, like crowns, but imagine the tales those jeans worn to 90s raves can tell – they can testify to a whole period of cultural history. Or the ‘something old’ elements passed down through generations of brides. I’ll often ask people, what’s the oldest item in your wardrobe? Why do you keep it, and what tales are hidden inside those pockets? Submit that item to be part of our exhibition, along with around 200 words about what it means to you.”


The region’s connection to clothing goes back further than Beatrix Potter’s Tailor of Gloucester. From the 1500s up until the 20th century, everyone in the UK wore a hat, and many of them were made here in Gloucestershire; in particular, Gloucester’s Westgate Street was known for its thriving textile industry. It was often hard labour, using dangerous chemicals – hence the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’, one of many garment-related terms that still forms part of our language today.


“Gloucester is an amazingly creative and diverse city, and one of the ways that is expressed is through the clothes we wear,” adds Canon Rebecca Lloyd, Gloucester Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor and Director of Learning and Participation. “A Costume for Gloucester celebrates this rich diversity and history of our city – I’d encourage everyone to add their voice, photos, clothing and ideas to the mix, and to come and see it here at the Cathedral later this year.”





Notes for Editors:


About Voices Gloucester:

Voices Gloucester works with the city's communities to celebrate Gloucester's history, culture and identity through the power of storytelling. From historical talks to works of art, performance, music and spoken word, Voices Gloucester wants to work with anyone with a story to tell and with an idea about the way they want to tell it. Our year-round programme is created by people from every walk of life, with an aim to challenge how history is defined and who gets to make it - generating unexpected perspectives, sparking conversation, connecting communities and developing a cultural environment we can all be proud of. Voices Gloucester is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and GUST. 

Threads 2023 is a partnership project curated and coordinated by Voices Gloucester and Jo Teague, and supported by The Folk of Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral and the Museum of Gloucester.


About Gloucester Cathedral:

Gloucester Cathedral is a glorious sacred space in the heart of Gloucester, with a history that can be traced back to 679AD. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Gloucester and welcomes around 400,000 visitors every year. The Cathedral is open daily, with entry by donation, and hosts a packed and varied programme of services and events throughout the year.


A Costume for Gloucester will be on display in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral between 15 September and 1 October 2023, accompanied by an exhibition of clothing and photographs in the North Ambulatory and Cloister. The costume and exhibition will be available to see within the Cathedral’s normal opening hours (please note there may be some days where there is restricted access due to special services and events, so please check the website before you visit); no tickets are required, and entry to the Cathedral is by donation.



For more press information contact:

Kay Colquhoun

Marketing & Media at Voices Gloucester



Ellie Fells

Marketing & Communications Manager at Gloucester Cathedral