1896 Holly Terrace
One of Several ‘Town Rows’ built in 1896 on land once owned by John Riste, founder of Chard’s Lace Industry.

The lace industry began to develop in the 1820’s in Chard, John Riste originally from East Leake a district of Nottinghamshire, was one of the original lace mill owners in Chard who moved down because of the unrest in the Nottingham lace mills. Many factors come together to make Chard a good place to set up the lace mills. Chard having previously been involved in the production of woollen cloth, had a skilled workforce available, it also has an ample supply of water and because Chard has a damp climate similar to Nottingham it makes it ideal for flat lace production.


As well as having access to convenient trade routes.

Employees at the mill all lived close by and the surrounding terraced housing was built by the mill owners. It was expected that if your parents lived in a mill house all the children would work in the mill for the rest of their lives. There was general overcrowding with families having as many as 11 children crammed into one small terraced house.


Everyone worked 11 hours a day, children were limited to 10 hours by the ‘Children’s Employment Act of 1847’ and children were entitled to a 10-minute break. On Sunday everyone had to attend church.

Whereas previous generation had worked the land, children, parents, and grandparents now worked grueling hours on bobbin net, stood side by side at the lace machines, sat at home mending lace or worked in one of the engineering houses manufacturing machine parts. The industry gradually reached out and touched everyone in the town.