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Braintree, Essex, a silk centre

Braintree, UK

Braintree’s role in silk manufacture was rather significant. The Courtauld family was famous in the silk industry. George Courtauld established a silk throwing business in 1799 near Braintree, moving into the town in 1818. In 1825, the family began making crêpe (crimped silk gauze). This made the company famous.

The Courtaulds used their enormous wealth to endow buildings, schools, parks and gardens. They focused on the Braintree and the Essex district during the 19th to 20th centuries.

As well as that, Warner & Sons was a leading Braintree manufacturer of silk and velvet (and produced a wide range of other woven fabrics and wallpapers). They moved from London to Braintree in 1895. Today, the Warner Textile Archive is housed in part of the original mill building at Silks Way, Braintree.

Warner Textile

It maintains a publicly accessible gallery, along with rotating public exhibitions, and represents two centuries of UK textile manufacturing history. Significantly, Warner’s created our Queen’s robes and silk hangings for her coronation ceremony. The Warner Textile Archive contains the second largest collection of publicly owned textiles in the UK (after the Victoria & Albert Museum).

Heritage

Also, The District Museum tells the full story of Braintree’s diverse industrial heritage and tradition. You can also download the Braintree Heritage Hunt, which starts at the District Museum and walks you through the town’s rich heritage.

Why not visit the magnificent medieval barns of Cressing Temple, the largest of its kind in Europe? Or enjoy thrilling displays by jousting knights at Hedingham Castle, home to one of the best preserved Norman Keeps in Europe.

Braintree, Essex, a silk centre

Braintree, UK

Braintree’s role in silk manufacture was rather significant. The Courtauld family was famous in the silk industry. George Courtauld established a silk throwing business in 1799 near Braintree, moving into the town in 1818. In 1825, the family began making crêpe (crimped silk gauze). This made the company famous. The Courtaulds used their enormous wealth […]

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