Friday, 7 February 2014

Lace comes home to Budleigh

Georgina Beare holds the wedding bouquet made by her aunt, Budleigh Salterton lacemaker Winifred Vincent 

We’ve all heard of Honiton lace. But of course it wasn’t all made in Honiton. The term was used to describe a craft which became famous due to the ornate sprigs and complex patterns which were created separately and then sewn into the part of the lace piece known as net or grounds.

In past centuries many women in East Devon villages like Otterton and East Budleigh found that lacemaking provided an important source of income.

By 1841 at least 240 of them in Otterton were engaged in the delicate work.  A Mr and Mrs Lawrence opened a lace shop in Otterton in 1823, and another later in Sidmouth. By the end of the 19th century there were 230 lacemakers in East Budleigh alone.

For many people both in Britain and in America lacemaking continues to be a fascinating hobby. A locally made piece has now found its way back across the Atlantic.

“Last year we received a donation of mainly Honiton Lace made by a resident of Budleigh Salterton at about the time that Fairlynch opened in the late 1960s,” explained Fairlynch Museum lace expert Margaret Williams.  

Lacemaker Winifred Vincent at work in Fairlynch Museum  

The lacemaker, a Miss Winifred Vincent, of Armitage Road gave the lace to her niece Georgina Beare who lived in the USA.  

Many years passed. Georgina always remembered where the lace had been made and knew of Fairlynch Museum’s fine collection   

“As she no longer had room to display it at home she kindly offered to bring her aunt’s lace to Budleigh when she visited the UK as she thought it rightfully belonged here, in the Museum,” said Margaret Williams.  

“Among the items is a beautiful piece that Mrs Beare used in her wedding bouquet when she married in the late 60s”.

The lace will be on show in the Lace Room at Fairlynch this year, from Sunday 6 April at 2.00 pm when the Museum re-opens.

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