The Nottingham School of Art - a forerunner of NTU - was established in 1843 to provide the industry with designers as lace became a symbol of high fashion, good living and well-dressed homes. At its peak in the early 20th century, there were more than 130 factories, employing some 25,000 workers, in the city's Lace Market area. Yet when tastes shifted towards easy-care synthetic fibres, demand declined swiftly.
The archive, which charts the rise and fall of Nottingham's lace-making history, has been acquired by the university over many years thanks to bequests - cuffs, bonnets and collars; garments and garment panels - from local manufacturers and individuals. It also includes portfolios of lace from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. Long accessible to students and researchers, it has recently been opened to the public for the first time via a series of events titled Lace: Here: Now.
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