17th May 2017

Already we are up to exchange number 5 out of 11. We are now in Natalie and Gary’s house (daughter and son-in-law) in Runcorn, Cheshire while they are in our place in Spain having a holiday. We’ve had some lovely pictures of the boys enjoying themselves. Look forward to seeing many more.

I have to admit I am seriously missing the Spanish sunshine. We’ve currently been here 42 days and had 4 nice ones. Less than 10%. I do hope it cheers up a bit soon.

Just before I move on, though, to Runcorn things, I realise I never posted the pictures I took of Wymondham (pronounced Windam) which was the local small town when we were in Norfolk. It’s a lovely, old village with a lot of history. There’s a very nice lady there, a quilter, called Georgette who does walks and talks around the town on the first Wednesday and Friday of the month. I had taken some pictures but we intended to do her walk so I didn’t post them. I wanted to post them with the information I got from the walk. Sadly, we never got to do it. I wanted to do the one on the Friday, but put my back out on Thursday, so couldn’t move on the Friday, never mind walk!

So, here are some belated shots of Wymondham:

Info centre

The Information centre. This building is the market cross. The original was destroyed by a great fire that happened in 1615 and this was built in its place between 1617 and 1618. It was built stilted to protect valuable documents from both floods and vermin. There is a story that says that live rats were nailed to the side of the building by their tails to act as a deterrent. The practise was stopped when a child was bitten and died of blood poisoning as a result.

 

Abbey

The 900 year old abbey

Green Dragon1

The 14th century Green Dragon where we had a Sunday lunch.

Old house

Two medieval houses.

Tiny House

And a very small house!!

So those are the last pictures from Norfolk. Now on to Runcorn…

First trip here was to Quarry Bank. All the years I lived in this area, I never managed to visit there. Always the way, isn’t it? If it’s on your doorstep you don’t do it. And all the miles of cotton fabric and thread I’ve used in my life I never knew how it was made. Obviously I knew the basics but to see it being done and to learn of the sheer hard labour – and danger – that people (including children) went through in the past to produce it was quite humbling.

A picture of the mill building itself. It’s not terribly clear, but it’s the only one I got:

Quarry Bank

We saw different methods of spinning from the very basic single home spinner where 8 hours of spinning produced only enough thread for 1 hour of weaving, to the Spinning Jenny (below), which heralded the start of the industrial revolution, to the huge ring and mule spinners that spun hundreds of threads at once. We saw all of these in action. Fascinating – especially to someone who loves working with cotton cloth and thread as much as I do.

Spinning Jenny

The picture below shows 580 warp threads going to one of the engine-driven looms.

580 warp threads

An old hand-weaving loom. It doesn’t actually look much different to the ones I’ve seen for sale today. Hand weaving loom

Some interesting facts about cotton and its production:

  •  Because wool had been the staple cloth of England, cotton was seen as an intruder that was taking business away from the wool traders. Women were actually attacked in the streets if they were seen wearing it.
  • For some of the simple repetitive jobs done in the home, children as young as 4 were considered old enough to work at them.
  • Children as young as 9 years old were used as ‘scavengers’, ducking under the working mule spinners to remove fluff and lint from the floor that may cause a fire if left. They had to get in and out quickly so as not to get caught in the machinery as it moved back. Quite a few were maimed or killed in the process!

If you haven’t been and get a chance to go, do. The guides and demonstrators are very knowledgeable. There are also gardens there to look around but as it was tippling down, we gave that part a miss!

And just as a parting shot – the Cromptons managed to get a mention again…

Crompton

 

 

 

 

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