My Aunty Avril is a skilled and knowledgeable Lace Maker so I was keen to explore Nottingham’s lace centre. Unfortunately the Lace Market that Google maps lead me to is a multi story car park. Even the tourist information office was apologetic that Nottingham doesn’t make the most of its creative heritage.However they did direct me to Debbie Bryan’s studio, who was doing her best to compete in a concrete jungle.
She runs a friendly creative retail outlet housed amongst the refurbished lace warehouses. Debbie is an artist who has drawn inspiration from the lace and makes it accessible to all with her quirky shop and tea room. Richard Arkwright established a cotton mill in this area in 1768. It led to an influx of workers needing housing and by the 1840s lace making had changed from a domestic industry to an international export business.What we have left now are the huge and impressive warehouses and factories that dominate this part of Nottingham. The idea being that the more impressive your building, the more desirable your lace was. They’ve been taken over by the trendy who recognise good structure and dollars signs when they see it.I found the current centre of Nottingham spoilt by the concrete and consumerism. And I had to keep reminding myself to look upwards where the cities true beauty lies today. And whilst this might now be a trendy nightclub called the Alchemist, Im not sure its actually one of Boots the Chemists buildings.
Whilst I was looking up, I saw that the Cirque du Soleil were performing in Nottingham, a spectacular I’ve always wanted to see, we got good seats and thoroughly enjoyed the show. We were encouraged to take photos but weren’t allowed to use flash so I didn’t try until they were taking their final bow.
We had a good week in Nottingham, culminating in a few more days in Beeston, where Ruby and our neice Bryony came for a visit and mini cruise.