Hidden hands and missing persons

Baxter, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-1607-099X, 2020. Hidden hands and missing persons. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 18 (1), pp. 39-52. ISSN 1475-9756

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This paper reflects on a pilot study which examined an incomplete set of mid-20th century lace manufacturer’s business records. The Nottingham Trent University Lace Archives hold the partial business records of W.J. Walker and Son Ltd., which offer an interesting insight into the industry in this complex trading period. The research interrogates these business records not to assess the profitability, or otherwise, of the business but to evidence the large number of hidden hands, technology and processes involved in the lace industry. The breadth of the documents highlighted the wide influence of this branch of the lace trade through direct employment and its external supply chain. Purchases included everything from soap to machine parts and thread to insurance, the latter including ‘war damage’. Wages books evidenced the planned wartime contraction of the industry as well as the names of employees. Documents from lacemaking Trades Unions and entries in the wages books can be read as vivid accounts of the variations in pay scales according to skill levels and gender. Correspondence from companies in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Kenya highlighted the international scope of the industry. This was further emphasised by the international lists of potential purchasers for the lace machines when the company ceased trading. The findings of this pilot study indicate that the business records of companies engaged in the lace trade, which are an under-researched area, are worthy of greater study especially in relation to their social history content.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture
Creators: Baxter, G.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2020
Volume: 18
Number: 1
ISSN: 1475-9756
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 18 Apr 2019 13:05
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 15:35
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/36334

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