Another Rare Find at Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Newsletter April 2007

Masson Mills houses a large collection of different examples of unused spools of crochet and sewing cottons representing most of the early manufacturers. The picture shows three recently discovered rare unused spools from W. Evans of Derby.

A letter accompanying the two small spools reads as follows:
‘Two spools by W. Evans about the year 1850. Taken from a workbox presented to Mrs D. McEwan, sister-in-law of Sir William McEwan, the famous surgeon, on the occasion of her wedding.’

A second letter found with the large spool dated 13th July 1953 from Walter Evans & Co. Ltd, Darley Abbey, Derby reads:

‘Dear Sirs,
We have received from an old lady in Ashbourne, Derbyshire a spool of Walter Evans’ No. 40 6-cord Crochet Cotton which is of considerable age. It was found in this Lady’s Grandmother’s work box. She died in 1867 and as the spool has “Paris Medal 1867” on it, it would appear probable that that is its date of manufacture. We have tested the thread and find it only slightly inferior in tensile strength to our present production.’

The spool collection is kept in a specially controlled climatic environment.