Feature attraction is a machine which was given to Queen Victoria's eldest daughter as a wedding present.The collection has been amassed by the Managing Director of the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co Ltd, Mr Ray Rushton, over a period of 50 years and includes many rare machines amongst the 600 machines on show.
The Museum has been featured on Channel 4's "Collectors Lot" programme and ITV's "London Tonight".
The Royal Connection
by Graham Forsdyke
(July 1997, ISMACS News)
A rare Wheeler & Wilson-type machine with royal connections is due to break records when it is sold at Christie's in London this month. Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa (known as Vicky) was born in 1840 and 18 years later married Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia, who was to become Kaiser Frederick III.
Their first son, born in 1859, was the future Kaiser Willhelm II. Seven other children followed.
To look after this large family an English widow, Mrs. Wakelin, was employed as head nurse with the Potsdam household from about 1862 until some time in the 1880s. In 1886 she remarried after returning to England.
Among the gifts she received from the Imperial household when she left was the Princess's sewing machine. It had been specially made by Pollack & Schmidt at the comapny's American Sewing Machine Factory in Hamburg.
Obviously no expense had been spared in its construction. The machine was covered with ornamental engraving under a silver gilt finish. It came with a cut glass cover with Prussian and British royal coats of arms.
The oak treadle was carved with Imperial eagles and, as a reminder of home, the stitch plate was engraved with a view of Windsor Castle. Accessory boxes and instruction manual were bound in blue velvet with gilt brass monograms. Even the ivory cotton reels were carved with a crown motif.
The Princess was said to be enthusiastic about new technology. By the time Mrs. Wakelin retired the machine would have been outdated, but it obviously made a fine present to a much loved servant who had probably used the model as part of her duties.
Free Admission (Persons over 16 only)
As the admission is free, a donation to either of our chosen charities would be appreciated:
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
The Museum is located on the first floor of our premises approx. 40 steps. Unfortunately we do not have a lift so access for disabled and some elderly people is restricted.
Museum Opening Times
Between 2pm-5pm - first Saturday of the Month
Saturday 3rd January 2015
Saturday 7th February 2015
Saturday 7th March 2015
Saturday 4th April 2015
Saturday 2nd May 2015
Saturday 6th June 2015
Saturday 4th July 2015
Saturday 1st August 2015
Saturday 5th September 2015
Saturday 3rd October 2015
Saturday 7th November 2015
Saturday 5th December 2015
We are very sorry but we cannot accomodate individual visits outside our regular opening times.
If you would like to organize a visit for a group (15+ people) outside these times please contact us and we will try to accomodate you.
By post: London Sewing Machine Museum, 308 Balham High Road, London SW17 7AA
By phone: 020 8682 7916
By Fax: 020 8767 4726
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org