Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Laura Ashley 'legacy' museum plan

Laura Ashley's former headquarters in Carno
Laura Ashley closed its former headquarters in Carno in 2004

Plans for a museum to "celebrate the legacy" of the internationally-renowned fashion designer Laura Ashley have been unveiled by a local politician.

The museum is planned for the Powys village of Carno, near Newtown, from where she built her worldwide business empire.

Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates said it would celebrate Mrs Ashley's legacy.

The company said it was aware of Mr Bates's proposal and planned to speak to him about it.

Laura Ashley's former headquarters in Carno, where many of her products were manufactured, closed in 2004.

Mr Bates, a Liberal Democrat, said the company had played an important role in his constituency and a museum would be a fitting tribute.

A Laura Ashley shop front
Laura Ashley played an important role in our cultural industrial heritage
Mick Bates, Montgomeryshire AM

He added: "In Wales we are very proud of our cultural history and in Montgomeryshire Laura Ashley played an important role in our cultural industrial heritage.

"With the closure of the Laura Ashley factory, we have a valuable opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Laura Ashley, at the same time supporting the economic development of the Carno region.

"Representatives of the Carno community have expressed their strong local attachment to the history of Laura Ashley."

Mr Bates said villagers had suggested housing a display in a building known as the Old Station where Laura Ashley worked from before a factory was built.

"A Laura Ashley centre would help support the long-running campaign to reopen Carno station," said Mr Bates.

"Reopening Carno station would provide the most sustainable access to this innovative project as visitors could travel to the centre by rail."

Laura Ashley, who died, aged 60, in 1985, set up in Carno in the 1960s and went on to build a factory in the village which became the company's headquarters.

The firm later opened stores in major cities around the world, but the Carno base closed in 2004.

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