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Kidderminster carpet museum volunteers turn back the clock
VOLUNTEERS have turned back the clock to set spools for a display at Kidderminster’s Museum of Carpet as its opening looms.
About 10 former carpet workers, who responded to an appeal made in The Shuttle in August, have finished setting 288 spools for the museum’s working Spool Axminster loom.
A floral pattern carpet, popular in the 1960s and containing 20 colours, was chosen for the loom and is created by the spools held in the machine’s chain gantry. Each spool represents one row of tufts in the carpet.
Those involved included Trudy Clarke, who selected and sorted the colour bobbins and setters Janet Brown, Thelma Drapier, Christine Hatton, Julia Holmes, Wendy Lewis, Hazel Robinson and Janet Welsh.
Pat Thomas set spool number one and Linda Farmer, on Tuesday, set spool number 288.
Mrs Farmer, 67, who started working at Tomkinsons when she was 15, said: “I never thought I would get the opportunity to do setting again - it had been 17 years since I had done it but it was just like old times.
“It brought everything back. My daughter and granddaughter came in and could not believe what I used to do. It was so nice to be a setter again. I enjoyed every minute of it. The museum is going to be fantastic.”
Melvyn Thompson, Carpet Museum Trust historian, said: “Some of the volunteers had not set for many years but soon found they had not forgotten the art and were chatting away to their ‘buttie’ partner.
“Spool setting is now an obsolete occupation in the town and our volunteers enjoyed being part of history by being one of the last setters in the town.
The museum will open to the public at its Stour Vale Mill site on Saturday, October 20, following a formal opening by Lord Cobham the day before.
Mr Thompson added: “This part of the job is complete and we can now concentrate on other things. We are all working very hard to ensure the museum opens on time and we are progressing significantly.”