Sunday, 22 July 2018

‘From Lesters’ lace bobbin

This interesting lace bobbin is inscribed ‘From Lesters’ and is thought to have been given to lacemakers by the lace buyer Thomas Lester for good work. The Lester family were lace buyers in Bedford and had a shop there where they collected work from the local lacemakers. They used the bobbins for advertising and also as a reward for good work. It is claimed that Lester would give one of these bobbins to a girl if her work was particularly good and clean. However, T L Huetson in his book ‘Lace and bobbins’ relates a story that if the lace was dirty or badly made Lester would invite the girl to choose a bobbin from a drawer and then shut the drawer quickly pinching her fingers. Huetson does say this story is unlikely though because the lacemakers he spoke to whose older relatives knew Lester thought it was out of character. The bobbin is made by the person the Springetts name the ‘blunt end’ man in their book ‘Success to the lace pillow’ who was working between 1868 and 1874.

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