Calais lace museum Quai du Commerce

Photo : musée de la dentelle calais



In the early nineteenth century  a group of mechanics, engineers and manufacturers of lace from the Nottingham area migrated to the mainland to escape a period of economic and social disorder and to try to make their fortune, some went to Calais. Thanks to technological developments, the adaptation of the Jacquard loom and the steam machine. Calais and the modest suburb of Saint-Pierre were transformed in less than a century to the capital of mechanical Leavers lace.
The International City of Lace and Fashion is located in one of the last lace plants typical of the late nineteenth century in Calais. The original building has three wings on four floors. The steam driven Leavers looms operated until the early twentieth century. The Boulart plant stopped all activity in 2000.
Between 1988 and 1998, the city of Calais acquired the Boulart factory, to create a place to celebrate the skills of lace, the local economic social history and the use of lace in fashion in contemporary art. The renovation and expansion lasted three years (2006-2009). This major project, supported by government and Europe also benefits from academic expertise and scientific advice.