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Green plaque honour for site of lace factory

Heathcoat & Boden play role in development of industry

The site where a Loughborough lace factory once stood is to be honoured with a Leicestershire County Council green plaque.

The Heathcoat & Boden lace factory stood in Market Street (then called Mill Lane) and has a place in history after it was attacked by a group of Luddites in 1816.

The factory played a vital role in the development of the lace industry through the ‘Old Loughborough’ bobbinet machines, invented by John Heathcoat. These machines were responsible for taking lacemaking from a cottage handcraft into the mechanised factory.

The factory’s role in history continued when, at midnight on 28 June 1816, a group of Luddites attacked the factory in Loughborough. The factory operated 55 machines which were destroyed in the attack.

Rumour had it that rival Nottingham lace manufacturers may have financed the raid. With the machines destroyed, production was transferred to Tiverton in Devon. A group of workers from the Loughborough factory walked 200 miles to find work at the Tiverton factory.

The importance of the Heathcoat & Boden factory has now been recognised with one of the green plaques, which will be unveiled at the Market Street site on Thursday, 28 February.

Historian and author Anthony Jarram, from Loughborough, nominated the factory site for the green plaque.

He said: “It is of great credit to the county council that it introduced the green plaque scheme and has considered the importance of this site in Loughborough.”

 

The Heathcoat & Boden lace factory has a unique place in Britain’s industrial and I'm delighted to be unveiling the plaque. The recipients of these awards are chosen by the residents of Leicestershire to honour those people and places which are so important to the rich history of our county.
 

 

The factory building was demolished in 1973 and the site in Market Street is now home to an Iceland store.

More information on the green plaque scheme can be found by visiting www.leicestershire.gov.uk/greenplaques

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