De-industrialisation and the Staple: The Cloth Trade
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Essex has a long association with textile manufacture. Broadcloth production was an established business in medieval Essex, concentrated in Colchester and the towns of the north-east of the county.2 This traditional industry formed the edge of the prosperous Suffolk cloth area which has left a legacy in the great medieval churches and corporate buildings of the former wool towns.3 For Essex, a new regime of production started in the second half of the sixteenth century with the ‘new draperies’, a type of light worsted cloth which found favour in the markets of southern Europe.4 This chapter will describe the traditional industry, then the process of de-industrialisation and the effect of women’s employment in the industry in particular.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Single Woman Rural Industry County Town Wool Yarn
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