1905 Lace Mill Workshops
This building re-built around 1905 made and maintained machines and produced bobbins for the Lace Mill. Converted into town Houses, shop, and café 1999.
The Holyrood Lace Machine Company was based here, these are the engine sheds where parts were manufactured by specialist engineers, for the lace machines. This is where John Stringfellow worked as a lace making machine engineer, he is acknowledged as a pioneer of powered flight.
In spite of its size and appearance the plain net machine is an exceedingly delicate and clever invention depending upon minutely accurate timing for its successful working.
Two sets of yarn are used – warp and bobbin. By the inter-twisting of these two the net is produced, and it is the skill of the operative in the careful setting of the component parts of the machine that produces a perfect lace fabric.
The net can be made from most forms of thread –cotton, silk, rayon, nylon, etc and is used for many purposes. There are two main classes:- Mosquito netting, designed for full protection against mosquitoes and noxious flies of all types while allowing the maximum ventilation. This type of net made of heavy rayon yarns is much in demand as attractive curtaining.
Netting for women’s fashions and like uses, eg evening gowns, bridal veils, scarves etc. such nets have a strength and durability quite unexpected from their delicacy.
Cotton was the oldest and most popular for general purposes. Cotton usually undergoes a process known as preparing which can best be likened to mangling, the fiber is passed between rollers and flattened and as a result a greater length can be wound into the brass bobbins than is the case with unprepared cotton. The net, too, has a cleaner and clearer cut appearance.
Before the brass bobbins were threaded into the carriages they would be examined, if it was found it was too wide open on the rim and have the appearance of being over filled, the bobbins had become weak at the joint of the two discs, or the brass become soft. This overfilled appearance was generally termed swollen or wide and if they were not excessively affected they would be restored to normal by a process known as pressing. This would have been done at the workshop, this was done by running a spindle about two feet in length through the holes in the centre of the bobbins. At one end of the spindle was a stop piece to hold the bobbins in position and when the spindle was full a thumb screw was attached to the other end and screwed down, thus pressing the bobbins. They are left like that for as long as necessary and when released will be found to be more nearly normal and returned to the factory. Any bobbins remaining with a swollen appearance would not be used.