DEGREE AWARDS '08: Derby Ram To Feature On New Mayoral Robe

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 DEGREE AWARDS '08: Derby Ram To Feature On New Mayoral Robe

Date posted: 15 January 2008

A set of new civic robes are being produced for Derby’s Mayor – sporting emblems of significance from the city’s coat of arms: The Derby Ram and the Buck in the Park.

The project has been masterminded by the Mayor of Derby Councillor Pauline Latham OBE and is being project-led by the University of Derby’s Chief Technician in Art and Design Rowena Hamilton, and Janet Poole from Derby Cathedral’s Embroidery Workshop.

The robe will be worn by Councillor Latham at a public engagement for the first time on Friday, January 18 at the University’s Annual Awards Ceremonies at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. More cause for celebration on a personal note for The Mayor is that her husband Derek is also set to receive an Honorary Degree from the University at the awards.

Councillor Latham was keen for a new robe to be created as the existing robe used by successive Mayors of Derby has been in use for about 22 years, and is in very poor condition. The current design, a black silk robe with gold braid and buttons, has been in use in Derby since 1954, the 800th anniversary of the borough’s first Charter. The new robes will be the third set.

The Mayor, Councillor Latham, said: “I am so pleased to have been involved in the creation of this unique robe and want to thank Rowena and Janet for taking on the project with such enthusiasm. It further strengthens the close partnership between the Mayoralty, University and Cathedral and it is so appropriate that it will first be worn at an event that involves the University and a Cathedral Service.”

For the new design, Rowena, Janet and The Mayor selected key features from the Derby City Council coat of arms to be woven into the black silk fabric of the robe. This was achieved by using a Jacquard loom and design software, which is based at the University’s Britannia Mill site. The sophisticated computer controlled loom uses thousands of hooks to sample weave the complex design.

It’s the first time the robe has been made using a bespoke fabric. Previous mayoral robes at Derby have featured standard woven patterns similar to those that would be supplied by robe manufacturing companies to civic offices across the country.  Janet Poole of the Cathedral Embroidery Workshop was able to cut a pattern to match the existing style and make the robe. Janet and Rowena have previously collaborated over the replacement of five copes that were destroyed in a fire in the Cathedral in 2004.

Rowena said: “We were delighted to have been asked to create a new robe for the Mayor which will be used at all major civic occasions in the city. The fact we have been able to incorporate key symbols from the city’s crest makes the design even more pleasing and unique.

“I suppose we are creating a little bit of history and I will be very pleased if these new robes are in use for the next 30 years or so.”

At the University’s Annual Awards Ceremonies, Derek Latham will receive an Honorary Doctor of Professional Practice in recognition of his career.
He founded and has led Latham Architects since 1982, and promotes a philosophy of creative reuse of buildings; designing places holistically in response to their context. He is the author of Creative Re-Use of Buildings, which demonstrates how to put redundant properties back into beneficial use.


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This press release was written by Deputy Head of Press and PR Simon Redfern on 01332 591942, or email:

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