September 11th 2019
Once a thriving carpet factory, the Stour Vale Mill is now home to the only Carpet Museum in the country and has four galleries that illustrate the history of design and industry in Kidderminster.
September saw a visit to this museum which is now housed in what was the very first factory built for making carpets in 1855 and is now owned by Morrisons who only charge a peppercorn rent. Lottery funding provided £2m for setting up of the museum building which opened in 2012, the looms being donated, and Lord Cobham is patron.
Originally work was undertaken in weavers cottages with fleeces prepared downstairs by the children and mother of the family and weaving upstairs by the father. Different kinds of wool used in the carpet making together with flax and silk were shown, together with spinning and which is where the word ‘spinster’ originated. The use of looms was then demonstrated beginning with the hand operated loom of 120 years ago used with the flying shuttle.
The different types of carpet were explained; Wilton being the superior, followed by Axminster and the original Kidderminster a double sided simple rug.
More sayings which originating from the industry:
tenterhooks – spinning a yarn – shuttle – sweep under the carpet – dyed in the wool.