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1684 - The silkweaver Larguier impresses the Weavers' Company with his skill
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Jean Larguier, a refugee from Nīmes in Languedoc, applies to the Weavers' Company of London for admittance as a master. He claims that he can weave the fashionable 'lustring' and 'alamode' silk fabrics. 'Lustring' silk is glossy; it has a lustre to it. 'Alamode' silk is a thin glossy black silk. Neither of these silks has been made in England before. Until now, they have been imported from France.

The Weavers' Company asks him to provide a sample of his work. Some months later he comes back with a piece of alamode silk that he has 'shot' with silk of another colour. 'Shot' silk is woven with warp threads of one colour and weft threads of another. The fabric changes colour when seen from different angles.

The English weavers agree that silk of this quality has never been made in England before. They believe that the knowledge of such techniques will greatly benefit the nation.

Jean Larguier is admitted to the Weavers' Company without paying the usual fees. The only condition is that for one year he must manufacture these alamode and lustring silks and employ English workmen to make them.

The first wave of Huguenot refugees, in Tudor times, brought many workers in silk to London. Some of these were silk throwsters, people who twisted the thread for weaving. Others were silk weavers. The second wave of refugees, which is only just beginning to arrive, will bring many more people to work in the silk industry.

 



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