Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum

The Framework Knitters Museum is in the village of Ruddington, just south of Nottingham.

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It consists of a factory, two cottages and some outbuildings  around a garden courtyard. There is also a small chapel. The factory holds a number of knitting machines and the rest of the site shows the working and living conditions of the framework knitters who occupied it throughout the nineteenth century.

The  stocking frame was invented by William Lee of Calverton near Nottingham in 1589 and then refined by others. They were used to produce stockings using silk, cotton and other materials.  The machines were the start of the mechanisation of the textile industry. Their introduction displaced hand knitters and these unemployed craftsmen were part of the Luddite movement against mechanisation.

The machines were expensive so men hired them from wealthy entrepreneurs who also supplied the raw materials and bought the finished stockings. They exploited the workers but the men were able to work indoors [much better than working as an agricultural labourer in all weathers] and were self employed instead of being some local landlords serf.

The museum has volunteer guides on hand to explain how things works and a good collection of artefacts. It is well worth a visit.

Photographs below.

Framework Knitters Museum 12

The factory

Framework Knitters Museum 01

Knitting machine

Framework Knitters Museum 03

Notice the worn seat

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Framework Knitters Museum 09

Note the pedals. The machines were man powered.

The knitting machine below is in another museum but there are several similar ones in the framework knitters museum. They are remarkably productive. Just set them up, turn the handle and they turn out hose at a remarkable rate.

Stocking Knitter machine

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