Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Burling & mending

And finally....I've mentioned already in a blogpost the final stage of the worsted manufacturing process - burling and mending. This involved highly skilled workers inspecting the finished cloth by sight and feel, for imperfections and knots. These were then teased out and invisibly mended, to leave a perfect length of cloth. This photograph, hung on the wall of Bradford's Industrial Museum, captures the process - and the concentration required - very well. (Best viewed large)

10 comments:

  1. This man seems to be highly qualified to this machine !! Beautiful !!

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  2. Interesting to see that it is men doing this.

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  3. A beautiful picture! And having followed the whole process, one can understand the high price of the finished product.

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  4. Lovely picture. And the chap in the middle distance has the look of my father in his younger days. But, as far as I know, he never progressed beyond a bobbin-ligger (yes the job really did exist) in his days in the mill.

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  5. These historical pictures are so intriguing, it's like having a peek into a secret world that most of us have never known. ~Lili

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  6. Back end of the Forties and beginning of the Fifties, my Mam used to “take in pieces” to burl and mend. The lorry would come up from the Mill down Canal Road and deliver the “pieces” to her an her mates in Eccleshill. She’d stand on a stool behind our upright piano and gradually roll the piece over it, feeling, burling and mending. She was up half the night and the next day the lorry would pick up the finished pieces. I can still smell the lovely waft of finished worsted. Later she took in Camella’s rugs and plaids, and sew all those coloured animals on them. Great lasses, those days, Bradford’s best.

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    1. My mother was also a Burler and Mender and worked from home when my sister was little, working on the dining table. She then had her own Burling & Mending shop, Odsal Mending Co., Holroyd Hill, Wibsey. I would like to buy a pair of burlers, as used by her, and wonder if anyone would know where I could get hold of these. Valerie

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  7. Jenny
    thanks for posting this series about the worsted process and Salts mill. My dad was a textile designer at Saltaire mill in the 20's and 30's. Never knew what "tops" were 'til I read your explanation.

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  8. My mother was a burler and mender, she started at Salts and in the final years of work was at home working for Haworth B&M. She had a table and I used to help her fold the pieces -as they were called -rolls of worsted wool around 200yds long. She also taught me how to burl and med too! It's great to find this on the net.

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  9. Hi Jenny

    Thank you for blogging about this. My mother was a burler and mender and started at Salts. She finally worked for Haworth B&M. I was about to blog about it myself and came across this. I can remember the pieces of worsted wool - around 200yds long, the tables and still have her pair of pincers with the rubber on the end!

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