A Transport for London moquette seat covering in the 2011 Barman design, named after Christian Barman who commissioned the first moquettes for the London Underground in 1936.

Moquette, derived from the French word for carpet, is a type of woven pile fabric in which cut or uncut threads form a short dense cut or loop pile. As well as giving it a distinctive velvet-like feel, the pile construction is particularly durable, and ideally suited to applications such as public transport. Its upright fibres form a flexible, non-rigid surface, which are constantly displaced to give durability and anti-stain benefits.[1] Traditional moquette fabrics are made from a wool nylon face with an interwoven cotton backing.


Moquette originated in France, where it was woven by hand. The standard width was a Flemish ell of 27 inches. There were two finishes: moquette velouté, which had a cut pile like English Wilton, and moquette bouclé, which had an uncut pile like Brussels carpet.[2] It is still woven in Yorkshire using traditional techniques. A long-standing moquette manufacturer is Holdsworth Fabrics which dates back to 1822.[3]


The most famous moquette in the United States is the one sent by Louis XVI to George Washington. It was made for the banquet room in Mount Vernon, where it can be seen today.[2]

Moquette is famous for being used on London Transport's vehicles, particularly the seats of London Underground's Tube trains. During the decades of the many railway companies, there were some ten moquette manufacturers in the UK. As a result of the nationalisation of the railways after World War II and then the Beeching cuts of the early 1960s, the number of customers plummeted. By the mid 1960s there were two suppliers, one of which was Courtaulds. The other is Holdsworth Fabrics based in Halifax, UK.

Moquette is occasionally used in clothing. In 1932–33, the United States Army Air Corps contracted for cold-weather leather flight suits lined with moquette, apparently as an economy substitute for sheepskin.

See also


  1. ^ W. A. Gibson-Martin (1932). Ship-furnishing and Decoration. p. 71.
  2. ^ a b Mildred Jackson O'Brien (2005). The Rug and Carpet Book. p. 54. ISBN 1-4191-5185-1. Archived from the original on 2012-11-14.
  3. ^ "Holdsworth Official Website".

Media files used on this page

Jute nahtlos.png
Author/Creator: SoylentGreen, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Hessian Fabric made seamless. It will serve to create a normal map in Blender.
Batik Indonesia.jpg
Author/Creator: MartijnL, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0 nl
Batik cloth purchased in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
MacLachlan hunting tartan (D. W. Stewart).svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC BY-SA 2.5
A representation of the Maclachlan hunting tartan. This tartan is the oldest tartan to bear the name MacLachlan. This tartan is referred to as the Old MacLachlan, MacLachlan, and Hunting MacLachlan. This sett was first published in Old & Rare Scottish Tartans by D. W. Stewart in 1893.
Thread count: Y6, W4, Bk32, G32, Y6, W4, R48.
Sources: MacLachlan Clan Tartan WR1710 MacLachlan Hunting Tartan
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Barman moquette.jpg
(c) Andrew Davidson at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
The "Barman" design of Transport for London seat covering fabric (moquette). Designed by WallaceSewell, according to TfL, "WallaceSewell's starting point was London landmarks which were turned into abstract primary shapes like circles, triangles and squares allowing customers to interpret the pattern as they wish." It was named after Christian Barman, who commissioned the first moquettes for the London Underground in 1936. It was unveiled in 2011, being first used on refurbished Central Line trains. This image was taken in Haven Green, Ealing, not on a tube train, but when the fabric was fitted to one of the upper deck seats on the prototype New Bus for London LT1 (reg. LT61 AHT) during it's tour around the city for public viewings, prior to entering trial revenue earning service on route 38. The rest of the bus, and the rest of the fleet, uses a specially designed red themed moquette, with 3 different designs used in different parts of the bus.