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Thread: Mat and rope makers Garston

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    Newbie ellie q's Avatar
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    Default Mat and rope makers Garston

    Hi,
    I was hoping that someone on here may remember a mat and rope works in Garston/South Liverpool.
    I am tracing my family tree back and my Dad's side of the family (hulme) where rope makers by trade and I do remember my folks talking of them having their own firm.
    I have so far been unsucessful in finding any trace of this and hoped some kind soul could advise me of the best way to trace local industries.


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  2. #2
    PhilipG
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    Street Directories have lists of Rope Makers.
    Ask at the Record Office, 4th floor, Central Library.

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    Newbie ellie q's Avatar
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    Thanks very much Phil.
    I need to take some time out to go to the library.
    I was up for hours last night looking at you're local picks, they are phenomenal!
    I spent some time living in Blackpool too so thanks for the few hours enjoyment.

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    Senior Member taffy's Avatar
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    Default Garston Rope Works

    Quote Originally Posted by ellie q View Post
    Hi,
    I was hoping that someone on here may remember a mat and rope works in Garston/South Liverpool.
    I am tracing my family tree back and my Dad's side of the family (hulme) where rope makers by trade and I do remember my folks talking of them having their own firm.
    I have so far been unsucessful in finding any trace of this and hoped some kind soul could advise me of the best way to trace local industries.
    There was a Garston Rope Works sited alongside the railway line next to Greenhill Rd . The rope works ran parallel to Long Lane, Garston. Not sure when it closed but as Phil said, Liverpool Directories should with luck give some more info . The works is shown on the 1905 OS Map for Garston.

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    Newbie peterb's Avatar
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    Default Garston Rope Works

    I noticed your post while looking up something else on the web and have a couple of ideas which may help.

    First, the name for anywhere manufacturing ropes is a Rope Walk. These were traditionally 100ft long and had machines in them which stretched and twisted the strands of raw material (hemp, manila etc.) which formed the rope. So asking about rope walks rather than a rope works might help. The last working rope walk in Liverpool so far as I know was in the docks and is long gone.

    Goodyear and Hick were in some incredibly old building in Henry Street which is not too far from the docks until a few years ago. Although they no longer had a rope walk when I knew them, they probably did at one time because they began in business back in 1880. They still exist, but have moved to a new unit in Harlow Street where they make finished goods (rope ladders, scramble nets etc.) out of rope which they buy in from abroad.

    Secondly, you mention mats and ropes. H Hunt Limited (owned by Henry Hargrave Hunt) began life in Windsor Street (also not far from the docks) and made gymnastic equipment. Most of their employees came from the ship-building industry because many of the materials and fittings required were similar to those used in traditional ships - timber, shackles, pulleys and, of course, ropes. They also had sewing machines to make the covers for gym mats. I can remember that in the 1980's the mats and any repairs on them were done by "Johnny the Rigger" - he used to do sail-making and rigging for big ships. Hunts moved from Windsor Street to a factory just opposite the airport in Speke which is only just a bit past Garston, so I wonder whether that may be where you are thinkng of?

    The original company went out of business in the late 1970's or early 1980's, but the management started up again immediately in a unit just off the East Lancs Road by a big bus depot. They lasted 10 or 15 years, but they too have gone now.

    Although Rope Walks were traditionally by the sea, there was a Rope Walk in Bury, Lancashire which closed down about 10 years ago, and one in Kendal, Cumbria which only finally closed about 5 years ago. The only one still operating in England so far as I know is in Chatham Dockyard. It operates as a sort of working museum, but does supply rope commercially. The company is called Master Ropemakers and their web address is MASTER ROPEMAKERS LIMITED (...hmmm.... it keeps over-writing the URL, but I'm sure you'll find it). Perhaps they may be able to help you.

    So far as tracing your ancestors is concerned, have you tried www.genesreunited.co.uk? It's very good. Cheers - Peter Barnes.

    If you want any more information from me, email me at peter.barnes@GYM-TECH.com because I only found this site by accident and am unlikely ever to check it again.

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    Newbie BrianC's Avatar
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    Hi Ellie, I have just stumbled across this website whilst researching the Hulme family tree; my grandmother was a Hulme. Perhaps you would like to get in touch as I have a map of where the Rope Walks were in Garston.
    Regards BrianC

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