This is ‘Hattie’, our most loved Hattersley Domestic Loom. These looms were invented in 1890 by George Hattersley and Sons. Hattie was most likely made in that decade in Yorkshire, England. Before leaving the works every Hattersley loom was carefully dismantled and all the parts were hand-numbered with paint. This was so that their new weaver would know exactly how to assemble them correctly.
In the early 20th century most Hattersley looms ended up in the Scottish Shetland Isles where they were used by small-scale farmers as a means to earn a living during the harsh winter months. After the Second World War these looms created employment for ex-soldiers who had incurred an injury as they were able to weave from home. It was from the Hattersley that the renowned Harris Tweed was first woven – a fabric that is still sought after today.
Sometime around the 1970s Hattie made the long journey to Africa with another Hattersley loom and landed up in Joburg. She was supposed to be used in a small cottage weaving industry that never quite got off the ground, and subsequently ended up rusting away in an old warehouse. She was later rescued by Stuart Holding and carefully brought back to life.
For the last 15 years, Hattie has been weaving fabric at the Mungo Mill in Plettenberg Bay. She has since travelled back to Johannesburg where she was the star of the show at 100% design last year. At the end of April this year she made the journey to Cape Town. Those of you who made it to Decorex this year will have seen her performing at the 100% Textiles pavilion. She really was quite the crowd pleaser!
After a successful weekend, it was time to move Hattie to her new Home on 78 Hout Street. After much deliberation, we decided to wheel her all the way from the Cape Town Convention Centre to Hout Street.
First things first, we had to summon up some manpower (in the form of Mpumezo, Dax and Craig). The rest of us less muscly folk formed the entourage and helped escort Hattie. We propped her up onto her wheels and carefully rolled out of the CTICC. Indicators would have come in handy as we made a sharp turn right at the first robot, but I suppose those didn’t exist in the days Hattie was made.
We stopped for a coffee at Hardpressed Cafe and got Hattie up and weaving before hitting the road again. We manoeuvred down Bree and then left onto Long Street. This was a bit more challenging as traffic started to back up behind us. Finally, we turned up onto Hout Street. She has arrived, safe and sound and will be back to work next week.