Keighley’s “inspiration” worked on film and television costumes

TRIBUTE was paid to a textile and costume designer from Keighley who worked on Oscar-winning films and major television productions.

Ruth Caswell – who was born and lived most of her life in this region – has died aged 74 after a long battle with cancer.

After training as a costume designer, she worked at Glyndebourne Opera House and became costume supervisor for Theater 69 Company – which later formed the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester.

During her career she has worked on films such as Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth and Dad’s Army, and was a textile advisor for the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice.

By the 1960s Ruth had moved to London, when she met and married her husband, actor Eddie Caswell.

She once said: ‘When we got married and moved to London we only had £12.50 to our name so I made clothes in my back room and sold them to Kensington Market on a stall next to Freddie Mercury. I delivered them on the 73 bus each on Friday and they sold out instantly.”

Ruth’s clothes were photographed for Vogue and she sold her clothes to major stores.

Upon returning to the Keighley area, she also produced innovative designs for the bridal market.

Between 1986 and 1997 she taught at Bradford College and inspired many students.

Among them was Vicki Wilde. She said: “Ruth made you believe anything was possible. She had an unparalleled work ethic and I would marvel at the energy she would have for any project.”

While teaching at the School of Art, Ruth secured the future of the Bradford Textile Archive.

She received an honorary scholarship in 2016.

Ruth and her husband had moved to Wales in recent years to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

She became involved with the Ty Pawb Arts Center in Wrexham. Ruth had been working on an exhibition lately, and while in hospital days before her death, she was on the phone with curator Jo Marsh to share ideas.

Friend Pam Brook says: “Ruth’s special ability to design and build was also reflected in her ability to connect with people. She had a very high national profile, but always worked with – and gave to – her local community.

“She will be deeply missed by her husband, children and grandchildren, and everyone she came in contact with who couldn’t help but ‘fall in love’ with her.”