Tea, Cake & Lace

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at one of my favourite little finds here in Nottingham - the Debbie Bryan Shop. An afternoon spent drinking tea, eating cake and hearing amazing stories about lace.

As part of NTU's (Nottingham Trent University) research for the collection of stories from or about lace workers from the 1900s onwards, Debbie Bryan hosted an afternoon gathering for anyone with a story, wanting to hear stories and those who wanted to help collect these oral stories. The purpose of gathering these stories is to enable Nottingham's lace heritage communities to preserve lace history.

So, with my tea and cake I sat back and listened to some amazing stories that these people had about their family members working in the lace industry and how they wanted to fill in the gaps that were missing in these stories.

Facts I learnt (and remembered to note down) ...
- Methodism was a popular religion with the working class and lace factory workers around the 19th century.
- Around 1810, lace machines were smuggled out of Nottingham to Calais, France. 
- Nottingham lace and Calais had a big connection with families moving to Calais or families moving to Nottingham. 
- Nottingham lace is renowned as Nottingham lace because its machinery. 
- Apparently, Hooters in Nottingham used to be a lace dye house.

I don't have any known stories of any family members working within the lace factory, but I found it very interesting to hear these stories and learn things about lace I never know. I remember learning about lace back at school when I was in Year 4 (I was about 9/10 years old) and how fascinating I found it back then and how, even now, I do find the history of it all interesting. Hearing personnel stories from peoples past made me want to ask my family if they have any stories (my history, if any, would be about Bedfordshire lace rather than Nottingham lace).

Do you have a story about lace (especially Nottingham lace) you would be willing to share with me for NTU's research? If so, then please get in contact with me as I would love to hear it.

I also couldn't recommend a visit to Debbie Bryan for tea, cake and a wonder enough.


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