Public Benefit

The RSN is a registered charity (312774) and takes very seriously its requirement to offer public benefit and achieves this through a number of routes each year. In 2022-23 these included.


At the start of the academic year 2022-23 the RSN held two exhibitions which were aimed at widely different audiences. Both of these featured recent work by RSN students and both were free entry. The first was held at the Sunbury Gallery. This is local to the RSN’s HCP base but in putting this exhibition in Sunbury it reached a very different, local audience whereas the Hampton Court audience is mostly tourists and visitors.

The second exhibition was held at the Worshipful Company of Girdlers’ headquarters in the City of London. This building is rarely open to the public, so this was an opportunity for people to see two things in one, RSN graduate work and the building. The event was only open for a couple of days but some 1700 people came despite tube and rail strikes. The event was considered a great success by the Company.

In 2023 the RSN has held Degree, C&D and Future Tutor graduate exhibitions at Hampton Court Palace, making them open to both HCP general visitors as well as those specifically booking to come. Again, the exhibitions were free to enter and received wide praise from visitors as to the range and quality of work. This year both these exhibitions were held in a ground floor apartment at Hampton Court Palace making it easier for people to visit them. We are very grateful to the Hampton Court Palace team for enabling us to use these rooms.

Services – the RSN Stitch Bank

In November 2021 the RSN launched the RSN Stitch Bank as a completely free-to-use service open to students, curators, historians of stitch and practitioners. This service is a significant public benefit and on a daily basis we receive thanks and praise for it, for the variety of ways in which each stitch is explained so that all types of learners can gain from the explanations. For example, the teacher from a secondary school, visiting to see the work of one of their former students at the graduate exhibition told us how useful her students found the RSN Stitch Bank as a resource, and how frequently they were using it. This school is not alone as the number of monthly visits to the site has risen from 10,000 per month last year to 18,000 a month this year.


Twice a month the RSN offers on line talks for a small fee which means that they can be accessed by all with online comms. These talks feature RSN Collection pieces, RSN history but also link to partners including other collections and to practitioners. In May 2023 the RSN gave two talks on its work for coronations, the first on the four coronations of the twentieth century and the second on the work for this coronation. These were watched live by over 500 people from across the world and will be watched by many more when launched on catch up, from the feedback we have had already where people who participated the first time want to share it with friends.

RSN staff also offer talks to a range of groups offsite across the country.

We also offer onsite exhibitions and talks to groups and individuals. In 2023 this was about the RSN’s work on five coronations and the mementos and materials that we have, plus all the stories that go with them.

Taster courses

Every year the RSN offers a range of short taster classes to introduce people to embroidery. We endeavour to offer these in different places or in new ways. This year as well as the familiar Knitting and Stitching Show in London and Harrogate, we have offered classes at the Artisan Fair for Hampton Court Palace. This event attracts more local visitors so is a good way to make contact with people who would be able to return. It is also used as a training opportunity for the Future Tutors who deliver the short workshops. The classes at the Artisan Fair filled quickly.