F is for Foundation

In 1939 Edward James wrote to Aldous Huxley expressing his fear that, after the War, certain arts, and particularly the techniques of the craftsmen, would be lost. As a solution James suggested his Sussex estate be set up as an educational community where the excellence of former craftsmanship could be preserved, taught and used as inspiration for contemporary works.

'I want to establish an educational foundation where creative talents can be discovered and developed, and where one can spread culture through the teaching of crafts and the preservation of knowledge that might otherwise be destroyed or forgotten'. Edward James (1939).

Consequently, the Edward James Foundation was established in 1964 and in 1971his early vision became a reality when the doors of his family estate were opened as West Dean College.

Today the Edward James Foundation comprises the internationally renowned College, award-winning West Dean Gardens, West Dean Tapestry Studio (the only professional studio in the UK) and West Dean Estate. Charity No. 1126084.

The College offers over 700 Short Courses in the art and crafts and full time programmes in Conservation and the Creative Arts. Additionally, there is a continuing professional development programme for conservators, including a bespoke portfolio in aspects of preservation and collection care specifically for the British Library.