What West Haddon manufactory?

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This advertisement appeared in the Northampton Mercury in 1795.

WH manufactory ad_edited-1

What on earth was harrateen? And where was the manufactory?

It’s those weavers again. There were four main types of fabric made by Northamptonshire weavers in the 18th century. And mostly they were cheap substitutes for something else. We’ve already come across tammy and its use as a substitute for dress silk. Shallons, or shalloons didn’t really pretend to be anything other than a cheap, all-purpose, lightweight twilled worsted for coat linings, working dresses etc. (There was a furlong in West Haddon called Shallons – perhaps used for tentering finished fabric as on Tenter Leys).

Harrateen and morine (or moreen) were both used in soft furnishings. The completed lengths were finished by variations in hot pressing. Harrateen was passed under a heated brass roller embossed with a pattern, which left the fabric with a sheen and a texture that might, in the right light, look like damask.

Moreen was sprinkled with water, layered with papers and pressed between two heated metal plates which was supposed to make it look a bit like silk moire. Both of these processes would have required workshops with quite heavy equipment, although the weaving could be done in an ordinary cottage living room or backyard workshop.

John Newton had several lengths of moreen in his houmoreen at Canons Ashbyse when he died. This is what it looked like.

John Walker was a draper. He lived at Crystal House where there were plenty of outbuildings round the back. Were any of them used to finish locally-made fabrics? And would such premises, in a world of the hand-made, be described as a manufactory? And were all those large first floor windows intended to show off products to visiting buyers?

It’s a theory, but John Walker died in 1787. But his widow, Rebecca, was still around in 1795…Stn Rd pc colour_edited-2

Tammy is not a hat

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Weavers in West Haddon at the time of the Enclosure were producing a number of different combed wool fabrics, each of which required a loom to be set up in a different way. And once the fabrics were cut from the loom they were finished in different ways too.

Edward Hipwell passed his tammy loom on to a relative, William Earl, in 1761. (It was Edward’s widow, Elizabeth, who shared accommodation with Mary Kirtland in ‘A house divided’.)

Bolting cloth in frame, Fisher millThere were a number of grades of tammy. It was a loosely woven fabric, using a fine, strong worsted yarn and its coarsest quality was used as a bolting cloth in corn mills. It was stretched over a frame and used as a kind of sieve to catch the bran from freshly ground grain, converting wholemeal flour to white.

A rather finer quality was used like bunting in making flags – a lighbuntingt, flexible fabric that would move well in the wind.

The very best quality was pressed between hot metal plates to give it a glazed finish that, if you didn’t look silk dupiontoo closely, might look a little bit like silk. It was in great demand as a dress fabric for those who were unable to afford the real thing.

Tammy was a Coventry speciality. Earlier in the century the Northampton Mercury carried a report of an incident that befell a Northampton tammy weaver as he came home from market with the day’s takings:

June 23 1721. This day, about 7 in the evening, Mr Treslove a Tammy Weaver of this place, coming from Coventry Market, was robb’d between Crick and Haddon by two Foot-pads of £22.13s [22.65].

(A foot-pad was a highwayman without a horse.)foot-pads