Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Weaving Houses, Kings Road c.1900

There are 3 houses on Kings Road that were part of the Peasant Arts movement, all of these were designed by Francis Troup. Troup is cited as having recorded in his 1898 diary that he was working on designing 5 buildings for Joseph King: “Copse Cottages, the new laundry, the Weavers house and the studio and workroom” (Jackson, F.W.Troup: Architect 1859-1941, Building Centre Trust, 1985).  Of these The Weaving House and The Studio are the most easy to identify in Kings Road.

The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere from The Studio, Volume 43, February 1908
The Weaving House
This appears to have been used by the Kings for the Haslemere Weaving Industry. The Surrey Times (2nd September 1899) reports that “The new weaving house in Foundry Meadow, to be opened on Tuesday next, consists of two large work-rooms, etc., and is a picturesque building, designed by Mr. Frank Troup.  Eleven looms can be comfortably worked in it…” 
The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere from Winter and Collyer, Around Haslemere and Hindhead in Old Photographs, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1991

Pictures of the outside of this house are the most widely circulated of the Haslemere weaving houses.  In the above a weaving sign of three shuttles can clearly be seen by the gate.  A notice on the gate is headed ‘Haslemere Weaving’.  The entrance door is on the first floor of the building, demonstrating the steep slope that the house is built on.  The entrance ‘bridge’ crosses a small stream referred to historically as ‘Brittons Water’.  This stream was used by the iron foundry in Foundry Meadow which was first started around the late 1500s.

The Tapestry Studio, Kings Road, Haslemere from Art Journal, 1906
The Old Studio
This appears to have been used by the Blounts as the Tapestry Studio. Part of The Old Studio building can be seen to the left of the Weaving House in the picture above. The ladies making hand tufted carpets and appliqué tapestry are probably inside this building in the picture above.

Later, in 1912, the Peasant Arts Museum is said to have moved to 38-40 Kings Road, which is The Weaving House and The Old Studio.  However it is not clear how the collection was accommodated within these working business premises, unless the workplaces transferred to other buildings such as St Cross in Weydown Road where the Blounts opened the School of Handicraft in 1902.
The Weaving House and The Old Studio (behind the horse), Winter, Around Haslemere, Tempus Publishing Limited, 2002

The photograph above shows The Weaving House and The Old Studio in the background.  The side of the hill is much less developed, some buildings can be vaguely seen in the Foundry Meadow area.  In the foreground is a horse-powered pug mill, puddling clay before it was used to make bricks and tiles.  The site of the photograph is what is now the Wey Hill car park.  Wey Hill was previously known as Clay Hill, where there were brickworks.

Side of the Dye House (Pooley, The Changing Face of Shottermill, Acorn Press, 1987)

The Dye House
Perhaps this house is referred to in Troup’s 1898 diary as the ‘new laundry’.  Originally the land of the Dye House bordered both Foundry Meadow (now Kings Road), and also Foundry Lane, the entrance being just next to the entrance to Honey Hill on Foundry Lane.  At some point the building was used as a Dye House and there is a recollection of the Dye House in operation, recorded by Beryl Pooley.  Referring to the Peasant Arts movement, “Some pottery and curtain materials were made to blend in with each other.  People could order their individual colour schemes.  Children in those days could earn pocket money by collecting plants in woven shoulder bags and taking them to the dyeing house (opposite the weaving house) to be used to dye the skeins of thread for weaving…Tablecloths from those days which have been used for over 50 years, are still bright in colour and need little or no ironing.  The colour mixes and designed are most attractive.  There seem to be very few examples of this work left today, which is a great pity.  Hangings were thrown away as people would get fed up with them – the fabrics seemed to last for ever.” (Pooley, The Changing Face of Shottermill, Acorn Press, 1987). 

Later weaving moved to the Dye House, as the illustration of the old weavers sign below demonstrates.  This is the sign that can be seen outside The Weaving House in the photograph above.
Weaving Sign, Kings Road from Winter and Collyer, Around Haslemere and Hindhead in Old Photographs, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1991

All of these houses are now residential homes.

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