26th Jun, 2022

First 'Coventry Blue' to be revealed at historic Weaver's House

Ian Hughes 3rd Sep, 2017

HISTORY really will be in the making at the The Weaver’s House next weekend.

The first ‘Coventry Blue’ in 450 years will be revealed at the historic city attraction on Sunday (September 10), as part of Heritage Open Days.

Throughout this year, visitors to restored medieval cottage in Upper Spon Street have contributed to a weaving project marking the tenth anniversary of the house opening its doors to the public. The naturally dyed cloth that has been woven by many people during this year will be cut from the loom at 11am on Sunday.

Sara Maycock from the Weavers’ Workshop, said: “As the cloth is removed from the loom, it will be the very first opportunity to see how it’s turned out!”

“In medieval times, when the house was built, Coventry was a centre for the weaving trade and the city was best known for its fine woad dyed blue cloth, ‘Coventry Blue’.

“This inspired our project, to recreate a traditional process and give visitors a chance to get hands-on with loom

weaving. We began by woad dyeing the wool during the first Weaver’s House Open Day of the year. The dyed wool was then put on a warping mill to create the correct lengths of yarn needed to ‘warp up’ our portable table loom, so weaving could begin.”

“We wonder whether this is the first new piece of ‘Coventry Blue’ cloth created within the city in some 450 years. As no one really knows what the original colour was like it’s our very own 21st century interpretation!”

After the cutting ceremony, the piece of cloth will be displayed at the house as part of the Spon Spun Art Trail which

runs from noon to 4pm on Sunday.

The Weaver’s House has been restored to show how former resident John Croke, a Coventry narrow-loom weaver and his family would have lived in 1540.

As part of Heritage Open Days, The Weavers’s House will be open from Friday until Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free and no booking is necessary. Visit www.theweavershouse.org for further details.

Five facts about the famous historical ‘Coventry Blue’

• The fine blue cloth was dyed and woven in Coventry and exported to the

continent.

• The blue colour was derived from woad, an unpromising looking green

plant related to the cabbage family. Woad is a vat dye and requires a

complex chemical process to create the conditions in which cloth can be

dyed blue.

• No one knows what colour the historical Coventry Blue looked like as no

samples have ever been identified or dye recipe discovered.

• The woad dye was imported from the south of France as the sunny climate

ensured a higher concentration of blue dyestuff in the plant.

• Coventry Blue cloth was highly sought after due to the non-fading

quality of its blue colour and is believed to be the basis of the phrase

True as Coventry Blue or True Blue meaning steadfastness.

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