Reference number
  • D/097
  • Collection
  • Creation: 1948-1981
Extent and medium
  • 1 box, 2 oversize folders and 1 oversize roll
  • ┆Papers relating to the education and career of swimwear designer Sheila Hughes. Includes notebooks, drawings and stitching samples from her education at Barrett Street Technical College in London, photographs, designs and magazine cuttings relating to swimwear designed for Olivers of Barnstaple, and research notes, photographs, and a copy of her thesis produced for the Masters in Contour Fashion at Leicester Polytechnic, now De Montfort University.
Administrative history
  • ┆Sheila Hughes (nee Cooper) was born in 1931. She attended Nonsuch County Grammar School in Cheam, Surrey, before undertaking a Senior Technical Diploma at Barrett Street Technical College (now the London College of Fashion. Between 1950 and 1957 she worked as a designer and pattern cutter at a number of couturiers in London. She stopped working while caring for her four children, born between 1957 and 1964. In 1970 Sheila returned to fashion work, specialising in designing and pattern cutting swimwear, lingerie and sportswear at Olivers of Barnstaple. It was through this work that she met staff at the Contour Fashion course at Leicester Polytechnic, who encouraged her to join what was the first Masters degree course in Contour Fashion, starting in 1980. Sheila's research focused on the problems of designing underwear and swimwear for the fuller figure. After completing her studies, Sheila continued to work in the fashion industry, largely as a consultant. In 1982 she worked on the Womens Lower Body Measurement Survey for Marks and Spencer, and in 1985 she designed and made uniforms for the Pediatric Occupational Therapy team at Leicester Royal Infirmary. She also undertook some teaching work, including lecturing in pattern cutting, grading and making up at Leicester Polytechnic in the 1983-84 academic year. For a detailed, illustrated discussion of Sheila's career, please see this [**blog by Christine Boydell**](, former lecturer at DMU.
Access status
  • Open
Conditions governing access
  • Open and available for access.
Conditions governing reproduction
  • Copies may be taken for private research purposes only, dependent on copyright regulations and the condition of the items.
Language/scripts of material
  • English
  • French
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
  • Donated to the Archive by Sheila Hughes, 2019.
Related units of description
  • Papers of the Barrett Street Technical College are available at the University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion Archives.
Date(s) of descriptions
  • 23 March 2020