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Former Lace Factory, Chard Town, Somerset

Former Lace Factory, Chard Town, Somerset
Photograph taken 23 August 2000 © Mr Richard Bland. Source Historic England Archive ref: 374178

These building were formerly a lace factory belonging to Gifford Fox and Company Limited. They date from around 1820-30 and were constructed to be fireproof. The lace or plain net trade was established here after 1820 by manufacturers who had fled from the Luddite resistance they had faced in the Midlands. In 1848, on the 4th floor of the mill, John Stringfellow [1799-1883] achieved the first sustained powered flight with a 10-foot wingspan model aeroplane powered by a light-weight steam engine. The flight was repeated in a marquee in Cremorna Gardens, London, later in 1848. The model aeroplane and the steam engine were designed and built by Stringfellow, probably in his workshops behind his house, No.121 High Street. Stringfellow was a bobbin and carriage maker from Nottingham.

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