The Warner Textile Archive is owned by Braintree District Museum Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee, governed by the following trustees:
Sheila Charrington (Chairman)
Born to an Essex family, Sheila has spent the majority of her life in Essex. Drawing on her professional training as a book binder, Sheila was a founder member of the Essex Craft Society and has exhibited in Braintree Town Hall and Braintree District Museum.
In 1989 Sheila moved to Layer Marney Tower with her husband Nicholas, and they have been running it together ever since. Through her connection to the house she has been associated with the Historic Houses Association (Regional Chairman 2004-2008), the Regional Tourist Board (2006-2010), and the Visit Essex board until 2016. She was Chairman of Invitation to View (which coordinates Guided Tours in unique places for individuals) until 2019.
Sheila is a board member of the Historic Houses Association. She is very involved in Tymperleys, a restaurant and tea room in Colchester.
Jean was born and educated in Cheshire but came to Essex on her marriage in 1963. Since moving to Braintree in 1969, she has been involved in local life through her church and school connections.
After many years teaching at St Michael’s School, Braintree, Jean became headteacher at West Hanningfield School until her retirement, at which point she began a strong relationship with the Museum. She became a role play teacher in the Victorian classroom and has trained others for this and other school programmes.
Since 2004, Jean has been Chairman of the Friends of the Museum and also arranges their outings and tours both at home and abroad. She is a volunteer at the Warner Textile Archive and the Museum, and has been representing the Friends and volunteers on the Board of Trustees as an observer for the past two years. Jean also volunteers at the Chelmsford Diocesan Bookshop and as a member of the Patient Forum at her local GP surgery.
Iain is a designer running his own consultancy, Thinkingeye, in London for over twenty years. Thinkingeye works with niche clients and projects around the world, from books to interiors, with a speciality in catalogues and marketing promotion involving companies as broad-ranging as Asprey and Mastercard.
Iain has lectured at a number of colleges in Graphic Design and Professional Practice, he set up the Diploma Members division for The Chartered Society of Designers, and has written for titles ranging from The Muppets, to the Telegraph, including a book on Drawing Techniques. He has MA degrees from The University of London in Book History, Art History and Garden History.
Iain worked for twenty years in the fashion industry from toile to print and final production and is interested in fabric and fabric design history.
He lives locally, is a passionate biker and inveterate traveller.
Demetra has lived in the Braintree district since 2004 when she moved to Castle Hedingham with her husband Jason. They have been running Hedingham Castle as a historic property open to the public and a wedding venue ever since. They have brought up their young family there.
She is an architect, and worked for a firm with a very modern style. She designed the Westminster Academy and elements of the Barbican Centre refurbishment. She has since renovated the Norman Hedingham Castle with Historic England and now does small projects locally. Some rooms in the house at Hedingham Castle were also done up by Warner Fabrics and used as a showcase for their 2007 Collection, and Demetra made some of the curtains and furnishings herself as she has always enjoyed sewing, dressmaking and fabric design.
She is also on the board of Visit Essex and an active member of the Historic Houses Association. She is passionate about our local heritage and education.
Katie is a writer and editor, specialising in digital engagement. After gaining a degree in Ancient History, she trained as a print journalist and worked for local newspapers across the country before moving into the heritage sector.
She spent six years in the digital department at The Natural History Museum in London leading editorial teams and has worked on a wide range of digital products and services. Now, she is leading Content Design and UX at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Katie grew up in Norfolk and is now based in north Essex. She is a passionate painter and outdoor swimmer.
Tom worked as a corporate financier with a number of City firms for 30 years, advising growing businesses across a broad range of sectors, industries and geographies. He is also treasurer and arts adviser to Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, a foundation which funds performance and creative arts and a non-executive director of Glantus Holdings plc.
Tom has a degree in economics and history of art. His interests include twentieth century British painting and sculpture, architecture, gardens and food. Over the last 15 years he has been restoring a Tudor house and garden in North Essex.
Cllr Frankie Ricci (Braintree District Council Corporate Member)
Frankie has lived in the District since the age of two and lives in Great Notley with his wife Jenny and two sons. He is a Director at London City Airport and has worked in the Aviation Sector for most of his professional career. Frankie has been a District Councillor for 7 years and is the Cabinet member for Communities, Culture and Tourism.
He is Vice Chairman of Great Notley Parish Council and has been an active member for 10 years. In addition, Frankie is also a Trustee of the Active Braintree Foundation.
Jane is a museum curator and has worked in the museum profession for 17 years. After gaining a degree in History, she went on to study for a Masters in Museum and Gallery Management.
Jane started her career at the Victoria and Albert Museum and has been curator at the London Fire Brigade Museum for 15 years.
Jane now lives in Essex and is passionate about social history. She is excited to learn more about the history of Braintree.
Born at William Julien Courtauld hospital in Braintree and schooled at St Michael’s Primary School and Notley High School, David returned to the District several years ago, after having lived and worked in London and overseas. He is a practising corporate lawyer with over 30 years’ experience and was, until recently, Chairman of Birkett Long LLP, one of the largest solicitors practices in Essex, where he is still a partner. In addition to his legal work, David is a trustee of two other charities based in the Chelmsford area.
David well remembers the industrial past of Braintree, with family and neighbours working at Lake & Elliot, Courtaulds, or Crittalls, and believes it is important for the District to commemorate its past. He is therefore looking forward to contributing to the recognition, preservation, and promotion of the District’s unique heritage and collections.
Interior designer Erik Karlsen first made his name in design as the founder of Jane Churchill Ltd, the fabric and wallpaper brand, which is now a part of Colefax and Fowler.
Originally from South Africa, Erik moved to the UK aged 20 to attend Hornsey Art School. In 1989 he started Jane Churchill, a fabric and wallpaper company in collaboration with two friends: fabric designer Robert Adamson and interior decorator Jane Churchill. As the market at the time seemed to be overtly couture in nature, Erik decided to name the company Jane Churchill Ltd in order to position the company, alongside Laura Ashley, as accessible to all and have a wider market appeal. Over the next few years he, and his team, opened a string of shops in London, Bath, Cambridge, St Albans and Nottingham, as well as selling through outlets throughout the world. In 1999 the company was sold to Colefax and Fowler. Following the sale of Jane Churchill Ltd, Erik focussed on interior design, undertaking design projects in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Corfu, Monaco and the USA. Recent fabric design commissions and collections include Obeetee Ltd in India 2016-2018.
When he is not travelling Erik divides his time between London and North Essex.
John has lived in Braintree since 1976, having moved to the town after service in the Royal Air Force. He now works in the computer software industry as EMEA Sales Director of the world’s largest privately owned software company.
As a Ward Councillor for Braintree West, John has served Braintree District Council since 2006, and is currently Cabinet Member for Asset Management and Governance.
John is passionate about the economic and cultural future of the District. He is committed to maintaining Braintree as an attractive place to live, and feels strongly about the preservation of its heritage.
As a textile consultant John has many years’ experience in sourcing and supplying textiles for decorating projects as well as for the restoration of historic buildings both in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the USA for clients including the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces, as well as privately owned houses and museums. Specific properties include Osborne House, Newton House, Kenilworth Castle, Aspley House, Cliffe Castle, Lotherton Hall, Temple Newsam, Dover Castle, Walmer Castle and Norwich Castle. In 2015 he worked with Apsley House and Walmer Castle in preparation for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
His Father worked at Courtaulds in Halstead, and so John grew up in a company owned house directly opposite the Mill. His technical background started with his early career at the company, where he undertook a 3 year training scheme, working in all departments in the local Essex mills. After working in various departments, he left SC&Co and moved into interior textiles, and has now been working independently for almost 30 years.
Since January 2013 he has been Chair of Halstead & District Local History Society. He has been co-ordinating accreditation and grant applications for an important part of the Society, Halstead Heritage Museum which has recently opened in new premises.