Coronavirus (COVID-19) — Information for students and visitors

Last update: Thursday 02 April 2020, 16:30 UK BST
External information:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Government response.

This page will be updated as and when information or policy changes. Please check back for updates.

The Royal School of Needlework Board of Trustees and Chief Executive met on 18 March to discuss how the organisation is going to move forward during this time of uncertainty.  It is obviously a difficult time for everyone, both personally and for businesses and, as a charity, the RSN is particularly reliant on our customers to help us support our Tutors, staff and our future.

Following the appropriate guidelines from WHO and the UK Government, from Tuesday 17 March upcoming RSN Classes, Tours and Open Days have been postponed and we will aim to reschedule as many of them as possible when it is the right time.   The RSN Embroidery Studio is continuing to take enquiries and the RSN Online Shop is off site but fulfilling orders.

The Royal School of Needlework is a charity (no. 312774) and our mission is to keep the art of hand embroidery alive, which we have been doing since 1872.

Opportunities to keep you busy with hand embroidery

As a gentleman on Radio 4 said recently, everyone needs something nice and enjoyable in their day, especially now.  We know that hand embroidery can be soothing and therapeutic during troubling times, encouraging calm, focused work and inducing a relaxed state of mind.  The motion of the needle through the fabric is therapeutic and the sense of accomplishment once you have created a beautiful piece of art can boost mental well-being.

So, we are offering our Online Shop, Distance Learning Courses and Online Tutor Access in a spirit of encouragement as ways to help us all cope.

  • RSN Online Shop
    Although RSN staff are working from home, we are off site fulfilling all Online Shop orders and continue to ship internationally.  We have kits in a variety of techniques for beginners through to advanced as well as equipment and supplies which are difficult to source particularly at this time.  We are also delighted to have a limited number of kits particularly for children who are now at home, which will hopefully take them away from their screens.
  • RSN Online Courses, in partnership with David & Charles
    If you would like to try a new technique in the comfort of your own home you may wish to try one of our seven Online Courses, each course is the equivalent of a three-day class. RSN Tutors guide you through the course, using market-leading online technology with video instruction, and you can interact with other students living on the other side of the world through a discussion board, where you can ask each other questions and share individual progress which very much brings everyone together at this time.
  • Online One-to-one Tutorials
    We are currently working to set up Online Tutorials to support C&D students or to help people undertake a Class Kit or Bespoke Class.  We will be contacting all C&D students once this is ready to be initiated.   Please contact the Education Team if you have any queries: [email protected]
  • RSN Gift Vouchers
    We sell Gift Vouchers which you can offer to your friends and family who are passionate about hand embroidery.  They can be used to purchase items from the RSN Online Shop or against a Class or Tour when we return to our normal schedule, which will give the recipient something to look forward to!

RSN Embroidery Studio

The RSN Embroidery Studio is now closed to customers with staff working where possible remotely.  However, we are still taking enquiries via [email protected].

With all enquiries, please include photographs and the dimensions of the piece along with any other information you may feel useful and we will get back to you with suggestions of processes and cost.  Due to high demand and remote working it may take us a little longer to respond.

You can also follow the Embroidery Studio on Instagram at rsnembroiderystudio and read stories about exciting previous commissions and projects.

Keep in Touch

If you do not already receive our regular emailings, do please sign up for them and follow us across our social media platforms, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now, more than ever, we will be sharing our history, student successes, exhibition news and project ideas that you can do whilst at home.

As we become more physically distanced, embroidery will become a way to stay in touch with each other, connecting through a shared passion.  Please do therefore share your embroidery with us through social media as we love to see it.  We also post plenty of our student and Tutor work there too!

We wish you the best of health at this time and hopefully this unprecedented situation will be over very soon.  The RSN would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support which, as a charity, is greatly appreciated at this time.

RSN Courses Update

This section outlines the current situation with each RSN course.

  • Postponement of RSN Day Classes and Tours
    We have currently stopped all Day Classes up to the end of April and Tours up to the end of May, and informed our students and visitors.  We will be looking to rearrange dates as soon as we can. For current cancellation, postponement and refund details please see our Day Classes Terms and Conditions page. If you have any queries about a Class or Tour please contact the Education Team who will reply as soon as possible at [email protected]
  • RSN Certificate & Diploma in Technical Hand Embroidery
    We have currently cancelled all C&D classes until after Easter.  We will review the situation to see if a longer cancellation is necessary and will be contacting students individually.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we will be counting class credits which can be carried forward to new dates, and have therefore removed the booking system in order to have an accurate picture. We are currently working on making some online tutorials available, please see below.
  • USA Summer School, July 2020
    It is with regret that we have been obliged to postpone our USA Summer School which was due to take place in July, and this big event will be rescheduled to 2021.
  • RSN Degree and Future Tutors Courses
    All Degree and Future Tutor students are working from home.  They have access to online tutorials and hand in dates have been revised.