'Handwoven Silk in Essex', 1979
Radio interview with Richard Humphries, owner of a weaving mill in Castle Hedingham using machinery from the early 1800s to produce hand cut silk velvet (SA 19/1/26/1 Part 2). The interview includes an audible demonstration of the Jacquard card cutting machine that creates the pattern for weaving the fabric, which is worked by a foot pedal. Later, the nineteenth-century velvet weaving machine is audible in the background. This machine was then unique in Britain, and was used to make royal ceremonial robes.
Humphries Weaving was established in 1972 at Ashburton Lodge, Sudbury, Suffolk. The business expanded and opened these premises in Castle Hedingham, as well as in Braintree. The Hedingham premises were notable for using the historic Jacquard looms. Now, the company only runs from the Sudbury site. The Castle Hedingham site, originally a primary school, has now been converted into private housing. This reflects interesting changes of purpose of the site: from educational (preparation for industry) to industrial to domestic. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many of these soundscapes would have been combined under one roof. Now that work and home are more often separated, how far have the soundscapes changed with each phase in the site’s history?