Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Nottingham curtain lace

I’ve just spent a couple of days in Nottingham researching curtain lace, in particular the lace company J B Walker. The company was founded in the 1840s by Benjamin Walker who was one of the pioneers of lace curtain making. Like many lace companies it has had a complicated history since then, with different parts of the family specialising in different aspects of the business as well as various sales, mergers and acquisitions. The company history is fascinating but I was also interested to see some of the products of the ‘drapery and napery’ side of the company, basically curtains, tablecloths and bedspreads. The image above is a tablecloth made from a cotton and terylene mix, which gives a slightly more solid feel compared with a tablecloth made of cotton, but is softer than one made of terylene thread alone. It was also interesting to see drafts of lace patterns squared off and painted for the lace curtain machines as well as some day books used by John Walker describing meetings, thread prices and visits to factories, giving a good picture of the day to day running of the company.

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