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Social and Industrial History

Social and Industrial History

Silk Ribbon Weaving

Ribbon weaving was Coventry's main industry from the early 1700s to the 1860s. During this period about half its population made a living from ribbon weaving and Coventry was the main centre of ribbon production in England. After 1860 ribbon weaving declined but the weaving companies began producing woven badges, labels, bookmarks and pictures.

The Herbert has a unique collection relating to this industry including over 250 sample books. The earliest of these dates from 1805 to 1811. There are also about 80 sample books from Franklin and Son and about 50 from J and J Cash.

The collection has several thousand individual pieces of ribbon, dating from 1760 onwards. There are also ribbon designs and other archival material relating to the industry. Finally the collection contains weaving equipment, including a rare handloom and an impressive jacquard loom.

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