The NDS (Needlework Development Scheme) was set up in 1934, the scheme was re-established in 1944 by the Glasgow School of Art to continue the work of what had been the Needlework Development in Scotland scheme that had been disbanded at the outbreak of the 1939-1945 World War. The Needlework Development Scheme was disbanded in 1961.
The Needlework Development Scheme was founded to revive the previous Needlework Development in Scotland Scheme. Its aims were the same: to improve the standard of embroidery in Scotland and to provide domestic science and training colleges, women’s institutes, and schools, as well as art schools with access to a collection of foreign and British embroidery. The scheme built upon its predecessor by extending its scope to gradually take in other art schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom where embroidery was taught. Like its predecessor, the scheme was anonymously funded by J & P Coats Ltd who by encouraging embroidery also created a future market for their threads.
The scheme continued to acquire contemporary embroideries in a wide variety of styles. In the early years after the war the best needlework examples within the collection were foreign so in 1947 a leading British designer, Mary Kessell, was commissioned to prepare designs to provide a new challenge to embroidery designers in Great Britain. Her designs were adopted by and interpreted in stitchery by embroiderers from the Bromley College of Art. London. The results became a travelling exhibition.