Lace Unravelled

In 2014 the lace and lace machinery collections of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries were designated as being of ‘National Importance’ by Arts Council England.  We have since been awarded funding from the Designation Development Fund with the aim of enhancing knowledge of the collection, conserving the more fragile elements of it and making the collections more accessible. In addition the HLF funded Castle project will deliver a new gallery at Nottingham Castle to showcase the city’s lace-making past.

The Lace Unravelled project will conclude in a symposium to be held over 15 – 16 March 2018 for 50 delegates with the aim to develop a further understanding of this hugely important resource. The symposium programme will bring together collection specialists, academic partners and the lace industry of Nottingham and further afield to make the collection more accessible and more resilient as a result. Events, talks and tours will also take place over the weekend for the wider public to explore and engage with our world class collection and local history.

The Lace Unravelled Symposium will take place at Wollaton Hall and at Newstead Abbey, dual settings for our lace and lace making collections. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s located in the heart of Nottingham. The house hosts the Nottingham Natural History Museum and Nottingham Industrial Museum, home to Nottingham’s lace machinery displays. Nottingham’s rich and varied lace collection is itself located at Newstead Abbey, a beautiful historic house set in a glorious rural estate, and the ancestral home of romantic poet Lord Byron.

The scope of the event will be international and will include papers from international speakers from major collections as well as from the Nottingham City Museums & Galleries collections team. It will also include artists and will reflect multiple perspectives of lace as a product and as a contemporary art form and inspiration.

Updates and Upcoming Events

The Nottingham City Museums Lace Unravelled project team are holding another roadshow (after the success of our October venture in Long Eaton) for you to bring along any items related to the lace industry for discussion or perhaps for donation. We’d also love it if you have any photographs or stories from the lace industry to share with us.
This will be held in Nottingham in the New Year, date, location and time details will be coming soon!

Part of the legacy for this ongoing project is to produce and publish a number of films highlighting the ingenuity and beauty of lace and the city’s lace making past. We begin with this promotional video by Guy Birkin from the 1980s, it is now part of the Nottingham City Museums and Galleries Lace Collection.

To read more about how the project is progressing you can take a look at our behind the scenes blog, written by the Lace Unravelled Project Assistant.