Lace Riot Walk - Bench No. 3
Bench No. 3 - The Holyrood Lace Mill
Bench No. 3 - Holyrood Mill
This building, presently a Library, is a grade 2 listed Georgian building. The white bricks on the wall in front of you and to the left of the front doors were designed to reflect the light into the dimly lit interior, before electricity was installed. Testimonies of workers described the conditions inside as stifling hot in summer.
1842 was a particularly hot summer, and freezing in winter. The thunderous noise of machinery meant many operatives went deaf and they also suffered from sight loss bending over the threads as there was only candlelight to see their work. The air was full of fluff and dust, and oil and graphite was used to keep the machinery working. It was usual to see the workers in town with black hands and faces.
On the evening of 22nd August a large group of strikers marched towards this Mill. Mr. Hill, the owner, had the gates closed against them. In response to calls for those inside to ‘turn out’ the operatives left their work and joined the throng outside.
Listen to Track 3 below: