Erewash’s lace-making history is the inspiration behind this summer’s beautiful carpet bedding displays currently blossoming in Victoria Park, Ilkeston and outside Long Eaton Town Hall.
The flowers have been planted in a ‘Leavers Lace’ pattern by Erewash Borough Council’s Green Space team and is a reflection of John Lever’s success, who, in 1813, invented a machine closely modelled on the knitting frame and was capable of producing lace in bulk.
Collectively known across the globe as ‘Nottingham Lace’, both Ilkeston and Long Eaton and outlying areas became recognised manufacturers of the exquisite and finely made lace.
Lace became hugely popular during the Victorian era, being used in the manufacture of furniture, curtains and various high quality garments with fine lace shawls sold by local firms to Queen Victoria - but with new manufacturing processes and materials demand declined leading to the closure of many of the lace factories including Granger’s factory in New Tythe Street, Long Eaton in 2001.
Many former lace factories now house a number of other businesses and still dominate the skyline of Ilkeston and Long Eaton. The buildings are a poignant reminder of a great industrial past - Ilkeston is home to the Cluny Lace Company, based in Belper Street, and is the only surviving lace manufacturer in England and its quality lace products are famous all over the world. Long Eaton’s historic lace mills form the Long Eaton Mills Conservation Area with Harrington Mill and its distinctive chimney, built in 1885, being one of the most familiar sights in the town.
Councillor Mike Wallis, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, said:
“The flowerbed displays depicting the history of lace in Erewash at our Green Flag award-winning Victoria Park in Ilkeston and at Long Eaton Town Hall are stunning, and it is a truly fitting way to honour our lace heritage and all those who worked within the local lace industry. If you are able to visit the summer flowerbeds in all their glory, please do it safely and within social distancing guidelines.”