Geoffrey Squire (1924-2011)
spent his final years in Norfolk after a long and varied career in London as
a designer, educator, historian, author and scholar.
Theatre design and the history of fine and applied arts, especially textile and costume history, were his passions.
In1964 he was one of the founder members of the Costume Society, and one of its early Vice Chairmen. Possibly to the surprise of many who only knew him later, in the Swinging Sixties Geoffrey was a dedicated follower of fashion!
Once settled after the move to Forncett End in 1997, he met in Norwich fellow textile and costume historians, Pamela Clabburn and Helen Hoyte, Vice Presidents of C&TA, both of whom were very involved with the Costume and Textile Study Centre (CTSA) then based at Carrow House, and of course with C&TA.
Pamela was the founder of C&TA and its second Chairman.
In due course Geoffrey became a valued volunteer at CTSC and a regular and popular lecturer there, he often wrote up the subjects of these lectures for a series of lively and erudite articles for the C&TA Newsletter.
His writing was both informed and perceptive, and his book Dress, Art and Society (Studio Vista, 1971) remains on the V&A recommended reading list although long out of print. A review of his unpublished manuscript Masculine Habits, 1850-1970 appears in the 2015 issue of Miscellany.
It was typical of his quiet generosity that he gave the bulk of his considerable library to CTSC and was able to see it safely installed at Carrow and later at Shirehall. It is there that his archive of lecture notes, manuscripts, designs, ephemera, slides and over one hundred items of clothing also found a home.
Following his death in 2011 the C&TA received an astonishingly generous legacy of around £27K, a similar sum going to CTSC. In 2014 C&TA used the small amount of £3K to underwrite the very successful Geoffrey Squire Memorial Competition Exhibition Silvery Threads as a silver anniversary celebration for C&TA of contemporary textile art. Discussions are ongoing about the further and appropriate use of these funds.
Geoffrey Squire lies at rest in a quiet Norfolk churchyard but his work lives on through his contributions to education through his costume and textile histories, his many kindnesses, and his legacies. They are all important reminders of this remarkable but self-effacing man to whom we have much reason to be grateful.
Jenny Daniels, 2016.