Explore the mighty industry that produced clothing, shawls and blankets that were sold across Wales and the world in this gem of a Museum. Housed in the former Cambrian Woollen Mills, follow the story from fleece to fabric with our self-guided trails, where you can try your hand at some of the old techniques such as carding, spinning and sewing.
The Museum also hosts a range of free events and exhibitions throughout the year, as well as special craft days where you can learn a new skill such as quilting, natural dyeing or basket-making. Details can be found on our website.
On sunny days you can explore our natural dye garden, or take a map for a walk around the village of Dre-fach Felindre to learn more about the area, before popping back for a well-earned cup of tea in our Y Gorlan cafe.
Wool was historically the most important and widespread of Wales's industries. The picturesque village of Dre-fach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry, earning the nickname 'The Huddersfield of Wales'.
Sheep shearing was the social highlight of the year on the farms of Wales. Sheared in one piece, the fleeces were rolled out and then folded correctly to make sorting easier in the mill. The sorting process was vital as different sheep produce different quality wool, some more suitable for clothing, others more suitable for carpets.
At the Museum you can follow the process and see the machines which were used to turn the fleece into fabric. First the fleece is put through a willower to untangle the wool, removing impurities such as dust and sand, disentangling it on a roller with metal teeth to create a soft, fluffy mass of fibres, before the carding engines comb the wool preparing the fibres for spinning.
In the 19th century, fast and efficient spinning machines were invented, transforming the woollen industry. You can view our Spinning Mule which was in use in Cambrian Mills until the 1960s, learn more about all these processes and get a close-up view of the tools and machinery that were vital to the industry.
Besides the working historical machinery and many traditional tools, the Museum houses a community gallery, which tells stories about the people of Dre-fach Felindre and how the woollen industry played an important part in community life. There is also a mock-up of the Emlyn Davies Drapers Shop, a fixture of Dowlais from 1898 to 1962, which survived the war years and the booms and busts of the 1920s.
We also have a textile trail from artist Julia Griffiths Jones who was commissioned to create five contemporary works for our collection. Follow the Trail to find her amazing works, which include drawings digitally printed on wool and cotton and wire work.
You can also see the Wall of Blankets, some of them over 100 years old, and some of which have travelled across the oceans, before finding their home at the Museum. And there's the chance to see textiles still in production with a visit to Melin Teifi, the site's commercial woollen mill, which makes an exclusive range of blankets for the Museum.
Open 10am-5pm daily, April-September.
Open 10am-5pm, Tues-Sat, October-March.
he Museum is accessible and a wheelchair can be borrowed on request (subject to availability).
Visit Wales: Best Told Story 2018
Visit Wales: Best Told Story 2017