From the early/mid 1800 Nottingham became THE hotbed for Machine Made Lace with exports world-wide), this continued until the industry’s demise with the onset of the war years (see Nottingham Lace Market).
It should be noted that the true and original Nottingham Lace Machines were "14 point” and have 17,920 threads! They were 8 Metres long, and if one thread unfortunately breaks the whole machine is stopped, while the damaged thread is located and replaced. (costly – yet there was no other answer ).
Nottingham lace is usually referred to as "Leavers” and / or "Cluny” although later the operation of Nottingham Lace manufacturing, also began to include/utilised the "Rachel” technique.
However, even though manufacturing numbers are dramatically reduced today, several highly reputable, specialist manufacturers/suppliers of "world renowned Nottingham Lace” still operate today, with one single yet reputable manufacturer actually based in Scotland.
It is from individual styles of lace manufacturers, which we access the quality materials used within our collections and are offer DIRECT to the consumer through distinctlybritish.com/nottingham-lace.
"Nottingham is the perfect place for the "finishing" of lace, as the city and area is built on "bunter sandstone” - this physical environment and location creates the "brightest” water, free from all organic matter, yet containing Chlorine and Ammonia. These two natural constituents present in the water, assist greatly the bleaching and cleaning process which produces "quality finishing".
see images of modern lace machines on Google - click on image
Nottingham Lace is famous world-wide. Yet of the two processes necessary to the manufacture of machine-made lace – making and finishing - only the latter was solely concentrated in Nottingham. The functions needed to convert the large dirty webs of lace from the factories into the fine, finished fabric so beloved by the Victorians and Edwardians were to be found in numerous locations in the Nottingham conurbation. Hence, the famous Nottingham lace girls in their pristine white blouses and long skirts thronging the streets of Nottingham’s Lace Market were but a part of the finishing section of the industry and not the actual makers of lace” ( ref Sheila A Mason)
Today the Nottingham's lace industry is compact, with a small numbers of individual specialist supplier/provider companies - personal and business friends of Elizabeth Cooke at The World of Lace.
So what is "Nottingham Lace"?
Lace is an ornamental open fabric, formed by looping, interlacing,
braiding, plaiting or twisting threads to make a series of controlled holes. It
has been manufactured in one form or another for over 300 years. The ingenuity
of the "sons of Nottingham" ensured Nottingham Lace became the
generic term for the exquisite British machine-made Lace.