Nottingham Lace and Us

October 28, 2009

Our home city of Nottingham has long been synonymous with the production of high quality lace, but finding a manufacturer and supplier in the city for our new range of luxury lace masks proved to be much more difficult than you would first imagine.
At its peak the lace industry in Nottingham employed 14000 women and 6000 men.  This is where the old myth that there are more eligible women than men in Nottingham originates from.  The numbers became even more lop-sided when the First World War broke out in 1914, but (…and listen carefully lads), I can confirm that this is no longer the case today.
Ladies hard at it back in the day…
 
Today, the grand Victorian factories and warehouses of the Lace Market district have largely been recycled as swanky new apartments and trendy bars (filled with boys looking for twice their number of eligible girls), whilst the actual production of genuine Nottingham lace has all but disappeared.
Lace Market, Nottingham today…
 
Luckily, there is one company in the city still manufacturing high quality Nottingham Schiffli embroidered lace, and by COMPLETE coincidence they happen to be based on the very same street as the one Samantha and I live on and, until very recently, ran our company from!
 
Fewkes have manufactured lace from the same site for 99 years – 2010 is their centenary – and are now the last remaining lace embroiders in the whole of the United Kingdom.  Their clients include Harrods, the Royal Family (their lace was used on the royal wedding dresses of both Princesses Diana and Fergie), and now us!
 
Traditional manufacturing processes still going strong today….
 
Expect a whole range of new luxury designs using genuine embroidered Nottingham lace soon but, for a taster, please take a look at our Ivory Birdcage Veil Masquerade Mask , the perfect marriage of Venice and Nottingham we think.
Nottingham’s lace heritage is literally all around us – our studio is also housed in a converted Victorian former lace factory.  Built in the 1880s, it was state of the art when it opened, designed for making up garments from circular fabrics.  The factory operated in a vertical method: fabric was sent to the top floor and then descended from floor to floor by way of chutes, to be cut, sewn, steamed and packaged, eventually arriving at the Packing room on the ground floor.
An air-raid shelter going up outside our studio in 1939…
 
We reside on the second floor, surrounded by an eclectic bunch of people including vintage fabric lovers and recent Vogue stars Spinsters Emporium, a gospel church, recording studio, ska band, gym and even a cheerleading dance school, (amongst others……), and we do, indeed, love it!
Martin Peach.
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www.samanthapeach.co.uk




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