Explore the map below to find museums and sites where lace is made and displayed
|Museum of Rural English Life|
The Museum of English Rural Life houses the most comprehensive national collection of objects, books and archives relating to the history of food, farming and the countryside. It is dedicated to the spirit of the English countryside and its people. It seeks to build, interpret and convey a record of rural life through its collections for the benefit of all.
The Museum houses a substantial collection of lace, costume, and lace-making equipment. These can be viewed through their online database or in person. For more information on how to access the Museum’s collections, see: http://www.reading.ac.uk/merl/collections/merl-accesscollections.aspx
For photos of the North Downs Lacemakers visit to the MERL as part of this project, see: http://www.northdownslacemakers.org.uk/events/2015/museum-of-english-rural-life/
The Museum of English Rural Life is located on the University's London Road Campus at:
University of Reading
Reading RG1 5EX, United Kingdom
|Pitt Rivers Museum|
The Pitt Rivers Museum is a museum displaying the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. The museum was founded in 1884 by Lt-General Augustus Pitt Rivers, who donated his collection to the University of Oxford. The museum's collection is arranged thematically, according to how the objects were used, rather than according to their age or origin. This layout owes a lot to the theories of Pitt Rivers himself, who intended for his collection to show progression in design and evolution in human culture from the simple to the complex. Whilst this evolutionary approach to material culture is no longer fashionable in archaeology and anthropology, the museum has retained the original organisation of the displays. The display of many examples of a particular type of tool or artefact, showing historical and regional variations, is an unusual and distinct feature of this museum.
The public reputation of the Pitt Rivers Museum is perhaps as a home for the exotic. However, the Museum has some 44,015 objects and 6,593 photographs from England and this collection can be seen as part of the broader concern for what it meant to be English. In 2006, the The Economic and Social Research Council awarded a grant to Professor Chris Gosden and Dr. Hélène La Rue, then both lecturer-curators at the Pitt Rivers, for their project The other within: An anthropology of Englishness at the Pitt Rivers Museum. The project analysed the collections of the museum, together with the history and motives of the people making the collections (who were often heavily involved in institutions such as the Folklore Society) to throw new light on what was being collected and how this was used through display. Amongst these items were lace, and in particular lace making equipment of all kinds, from pillows and bobbins to bobbin-winders and pillow-stands. For more on the collections of lace and lace objects at the Pitt Rivers see Dr Makovicky’s blog posts http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-lace-makers-bobbins.html and http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-beds-maltese-and-yak-lace.html
Pitt Rivers Muuseum,
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3PP
Oxford OX1 3PP, United Kingdom
|The Lace Guild|
The Lace Guild is the largest organization for lacemakers in the British Isles, and our membership is international. Our aims are to provide information about the craft of lacemaking, its history and use; to promote a high standard of lacemaking; and to encourage the design, development and professional presentation of lace.
Both members and non-members are welcome to visit The Lace Guild’s headquarters — The Hollies. No appointment is needed on Fridays, although groups over five in number are asked to contact The Hollies in advance. Please contact us beforehand to make an appointment if you would like to visit from Monday to Thursday. The Hollies is also open quarterly on the first Saturday of the month in February, May, August and November, when a curator from the Museum will be on hand to identify lace or give information on lace that is brought in.
The Lace Guild
West Midlands DY8 4AE,
Stourbridge DY8 4AE, United Kingdom
|Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney|
The Cowper and Newton Museum commemorates two great men William Cowper the influential poet and writer and John Newton preacher and writer of many Hymns including 'Amazing Grace'. The House and gardens where Cowper lived between 1768 and 1786 help the visitor relive Georgian life in Olney. The Museum displays a collection of lace and information on lace making, which was one of the major local industries in Olney until the beginning of the 19th century.
Orchard Side, Market Pl,
Buckinghamshire MK46 4AJ,
MK46 4AJ, United Kingdom
|The Lace Factory, Olney|
Harry Armstrong's Lace Factory in Olney, first in Newton Street from 1928 and then in the High Street on completion of the new building. Lace was produced to Harry Armstrong's requirements by outworkers in the surrounding district. The Lace Factory was used to assemble the lace onto articles such as handkerchiefs and table linen, but perhaps more importantly, the building was used to market and pack the lace for shipment within the UK and abroad.
The Lace Factory,
Olney, United Kingdom
|The Higgins Bedford|
The Higgins Bedford displays and houses significant collections of fine laces made in around Bedford. They have a particularly fine collection of Bedfordshire or Beds-Maltese lace laces, as well as prize-wining designs by local lace designer and dealer Thomas Lester. In 1945 Thomas Lester's grand-daughter bequeathed to Bedford a large collection of lace, draft and completed prickings, patterns, sample books, bobbins and exhibition medals connected with the family business. This collection now forms part of the permanent lace display at the Higgins.
The Higgins Bedford,
Bedford MK40 3XD
Castle Lane, Bedford MK40 3XD, United Kingdom
|Victoria and Albert Museum|
The V&A holds the national collection of Textiles and Fashion, which spans a period of more than 5000 years, from Predynastic Egypt to the present day. The collection is one of the world’s largest and the most wide-ranging. More than 75,000 individual objects or sets of objects are cared for jointly by the Asian Department and the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department, from a broad geographic area covering Europe, South, South East, East and Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.
Almost all textile techniques are represented in our collections, including woven, printed and embroidered textiles, lace, tapestries and carpets. Among the particularly rich areas are early woven silks from the Near East, European and Chinese tapestries, English medieval embroidery (opus anglicanum), Safavid carpets, Indian textiles, and Arts and Crafts textiles.
The fashion collection spans five centuries, with early pieces including rare 16th century children’s kaftans from the Ottoman Empire, and important examples of 17th century European men’s and women’s dress. It has particular strength from the 18th century onwards, with mainly European (predominantly English and French) fashionable clothes and accessories for both sexes, together with important items of dress for the elite in India, China and Japan which mainly date to the 19th century. The collection also includes a wide range of accessories from across the world, such as footwear and hats.
The Victoria and Albert Museum,
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom
|Wardown Park Museum, Luton|
Wardown Park Museum, formerly the Luton Museum & Art Gallery in Luton, is housed in a large Victorian mansion in Wardown Park on the outskirts of the town centre. The museum collection focuses on the traditional crafts of Bedfordshire, notably lace-making and hat-making. There are samples of Bedfordshire lace from as early as the 17th century.
Wardown Park Museum
Wardown Park Museum, Old Bedford Road, Luton, United Kingdom
|Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham|
Located in the heart of historic market town of Buckingham, the iconic Old Gaol was built in 1748 in the style of a castle, with later additions in 1839 by the famous local architect George Gilbert Scott. The Old Gaol is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm all year round. Last admission to the museum is half an hour before closing. The Old Gaol hosts a wide range of special events during the year. The Old Gaol Museum tells the story of Buckingham and rural life, including the Flora Thompson Collection (Lark Rise to Candleford author) and Buckinghamshire Military Trust exhibits. A number of the original cells form part of the museum visitor's experience.
The Old Gaol,
Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham, United Kingdom
The Wellingborough Museum is housed in Dulley's Baths, built in 1892 as an indoor swimming pool by David Dulley, a brewer in the town. In 1920, the building was bought by George Cox and converted into a shoe factory. Cox's moved to larger premises in 1995.
The building displays the collection of artefacts owned by the Winifred Wharton Trust, previously shown in The Heritage Centre at Croyland Hall in Wellingborough. We have a typical market town collection of mainly social items relating to Wellingborough and district.
12 Castle Way,
Wellingborough NN8 1XB, United Kingdom
|Desborough Heritage Centre|
The Centre holds an extraordinary wealth of visual information about the town. Visitors will see how the townscape and town life have changed dramatically, even within living memory, with the demoltion of many of its 17th and 18th century ironstone buildings.
72 Station Rd, Desborough
72 Station Road, Desborough, United Kingdom
See especially the Baroness de Rothschild lace collection.
Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 0JH
Waddesdon HP18 0JH, United Kingdom
Juniper Hill is the home of Queenie Massey, the lacemaker in Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford
Juniper Hill, Brackley, Oxfordshire NN13
Juniper Hill, Brackley, Oxfordshire NN13 5RH, United Kingdom
|Milton Manor House|
Milton Manor House was built for Bryant Barrett, supplier of lace to George III. It is sometimes open to the public (see website for details).
Milton Manor House,
Milton OX14 4EN, United Kingdom
Isis Lacemakers are based in Oxford, our current membership is about 25. The group was founded in 1983, to allow lacemakers to meet twice a month, and enjoy each-others company whilst making lace. We offer help both to beginners, and more experienced lacemakers.
Marston OX3 0PR, United Kingdom
|North Downs Lacemakers|
North Downs Lacemakers was set up in 1980 by a group of local lacemakers, initially meeting in members' homes, and took its name from the area in which they met. As the group expanded other premises were used. The Fritillary was chosen as the group's logo, as it grows wild in the locality.
We are a friendly group of lacemakers and welcome members of all ages. Our members include beginners, teachers and authors who make bobbin and needle lace of all types, traditional and modern. We welcome visitors of any standard of lace making to our meetings.
Our programme of monthly meetings includes talks, mini-workshops, 'Make Lace' evenings with suppliers and a Christmas Party. We meet on the second Thursday of each month at the Morgan Centre in Crowthorne from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. We hold a monthly raffle, and have goods, including membership badges, with our logo on for sale. Members may borrow books from our well stocked Library.
Crowthorne, RG45 7LD
RG45 7LD, United Kingdom
This is the museum for the Borough of Runnymede, and apparently has an excellent collection of 18th century lace
KT16 8AT, United Kingdom
GU1 3SX, United Kingdom
|Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery|
Brimingham Museum and Art Gallery
B3 3DH, United Kingdom
Surrey GU9 7QR
GU9 7QR, United Kingdom
|Bucks County Museum|
There is a large lace collection at the Bucks County Museum Storage Facility at Wendover.
Bucks County Museum
Church St, Aylesbury,
Buckinghamshire HP20 2QP
HP20 2QP, United Kingdom