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amberley hall 1The Tools and Trades History Society is an educational charity, whose aim is to further the knowledge and understanding of hand tools and the trades in which they were used.


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Richard Philips has helpfully expanded on the background to our recent publication on ropeworks. Some useful links here. 

The TATHS publication of Mr Ellwood's memoir, 'Yarns from the Ropeworks' is commendably well produced, my compliments to you and your printer. I know how much effort Mrs Robinson put into editing Mr Ellwood's memoir, and taking photographs.

Probably members of the International Guild of Knot-tyers, and many others, will find this book of interest and will wish to buy copies.

Ropemaking has a long history, from far back in Man's prehistory. Before pressure-sensitive cellulose tape (such as 'Sellotape') became commonly used after WW2, most towns would have had a ropeworks, rope was so widely used for so many purposes, and all made of natural (mostly plant) fibre. Four of our major Naval Dockyards also had one.

Today, all but one of the dockyard roperies have closed, but the one at Chatham Historic Naval Dockyard is still operating, now run by a commercial company which sells ropes and rope products to many commercial customers.

The Master Ropemakers moved in and this Ropery remains the oldest rope making facility in the UK.

Chatham Historic Naval Dockyard has old slips, one of the earliest and largest unsupported wooden roofs in the country over one of the historic slips, three historic warships, and the rope walk.

Details of the dockyard are here:  http://thedockyard.co.uk/ and the rope works here:  http://thedockyard.co.uk/explore/the-victorian-ropery/

There are guided tours and demonstrarions, (some hands-on) of the ropeworks:


Another place to see ropemaking demonstrated, on a smaller scale, is Peak Cavern in Derbyshire:


During the centuries of lead-mining, families of ropemakers lived in the mouth of the cavern, where they made ropes to sell to the miners. A tour of the cavern today starts with a demonstration of ropemaking. Ropes made here can be bought at the entrance kiosk/shop:


A larger ropeworks in the same part of the country is  Outhwaites Ltd (Ropemakers), at Hawes, Wensleydale,

http://www.ropemakers.co.uk/    http://www.ropemakers.co.uk/visit_rope.asp

The process of ropemaking is explained and demonstrated at, for example, these places. Or look at these websites:




Richard Phillips