Manuscripts and Special Collections

Weston Gallery Exhibition


Fully Fashioned: Archival remnants of the textile trade

Friday 6th September to Sunday 1st December 2019

Admission free

Using photographs, marketing materials and business records from the University of Nottingham’s lace and hosiery archive collections, this exhibition explores surviving evidence of the textile trade which was once a major feature of the East Midlands. Other collections reveal the struggle for workers’ rights, from the targeted campaign of machine breaking by the Luddites of the East Midlands (in protest at unfair pay and the introduction of ‘cut ups’ in favour of the superior fully-fashioned stockings), to the development of unions such as the Nottingham-based Amalgamated Society of Operative Lace Makers and Auxiliary Workers. 

Fully Fashioned poster




The exhibition illustrates the rise and eventual decline of the trade, as it struggled to survive the ravages of war, the vagaries of fashion, and the battle to compete with cheap imports. The exhibition also reflects upon the ways in which both the legacy of the Luddites and the city’s lace heritage continue to inspire tourists, artists, and activists.The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

A series of talks, tours and workshops will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office on 0115 8467777. See the Lakeside Arts Centre website for further details.

Location and Opening Times

Weston Gallery 
DH Lawrence Pavilion 
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park 

Box Office: 0115 8467777  

Opening times:

Tuesday–Friday, 11am–4pm Saturday & Sunday, 12 noon–4pm. Closed on Mondays 

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Lunchtime talks  

Djanogly Theatre

All talks last approximately one hour and are £3 per person (free concessions)

Nottingham Castle lace gallery

Thursday 3 October 1pm

Staff from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries reveal the plans for the new lace gallery at Nottingham Castle which is expected to re-open in 2020 following a £29.4 million redevelopment. The new gallery will feature star items from the world-class collection, telling the story of how lace has transformed the shape of the city and contributed to changing fashions for over 200 years.

Luddites and the framework knitters: collective bargaining by riot

Tuesday 29 October 1pm

Julian Atkinson and Roger Tanner, authors of Luddism in the East Midlands: Riots and Negotiations (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Labour History Society: 2018), tell the true story of Luddism in Nottinghamshire. They share the results of their research into the knitters union led by Gravenor Henson, the character of East Midland Luddism, and the intersections between the two.

Celebrating 235 years of luxury knitwear manufacturing

Thursday 21 November 1pm

John Smedley Ltd. of Lea Mills, Derbyshire, one of the first companies to install fully fashioned knitting machinery, produces fine gauge knitwear using traditional hand finishing techniques alongside cutting-edge technology. Jane Middleton-Smith discusses the way the firm uses its business archive for inspiration, research and for engagement with the local community, education groups and the public.



Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office on 0115 8467777. 

Gallery Tour

Monday 9 September, 11am–12noon

Free but booking is recommended

Join the exhibition curator for a guided tour of the exhibition and learnabout the stories behind the items on display.

Lace Market guided tour

Wednesday 18 September 10:30am

£10 per person, suitable for adults and older children as part of family learning.

Join Nottingham raconteur Ezekial Bone and follow the threads of the human story woven into the fabric of the Lace Market. The tour starts outside Nottingham Contemporary (Weekday Cross, NG1 2GB) and lasts 90 minutes, followed by an optional tram trip to Lakeside to visit the Fully Fashioned exhibition with the curator.

Share your stories:

Textile Tales roadshow

Friday 22nd November 11am-4pm

Meeting Room 1, Lakeside Pavilion. Free, just drop in

Did you or your family work in the East Midland’s textile industry between 1980 and 2005? The Textile Tales Roadshow team at Nottingham Trent University would love to hear your stories. We’re inviting local people to be part of this exciting project. Tea and cake provided.


Debbie Bryan cyanotype printing


Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office on 0115 8467777. 

Bobbin lace making workshop 

Saturday 12 October 10am-4pm

Meeting Room 1, Lakeside Pavilion. £50 (£45 concessions), for ages 16+

Try your hand at lace making, a traditional industry of the East Midlands, in this one day course run by members of the Nottinghamshire Bobbin Lace Society. This event is aimed at complete beginners and all materials will be provided.

Cyanotype print workshop #1hrMakes

Sunday 20th October 1:00-2:00pm and 2:30-3:30pm

Visual Arts Studio £8 per person, for ages 5+ 

Debbie Bryan (who runs an award winning shop, tea room and creative space in Nottingham's Lace Market), will teach this magical Victorian photographic print process and help you create your own unique mini-masterpiece based on historic Nottingham lace designs, inspired by the Weston Gallery’s Fully Fashioned exhibition.



Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651