Records of Boden and Company Limited, Lace Manufacturers, Derby, 1818-1954

Scope and Content

This small collection does not include the principal management, accounting, or production records of the company, but is made up largely of stray records, occasional correspondence and related papers. The correspondence spans the period 1825 to 1895, and is concerned with administrative issues, mainly financial. Other papers are mainly concerned with the delivery and receipt of consignments of lace, but feature other topics, including patenting arrangements (1815-1817). There is a small number of account books and stock books (1824-1857), and several miscellaneous cash books and costings records. A single register (1877-79) records the employment of youths. Deeds (non-property) span the period 1832-39, and there is a plan of the Derby factory from 1875. Photographs of John Boden (1825 and 1830) are present.

Miscellaneous material includes items relating the history of the firm. Preachers' books (1886-1934) record sermons delivered in the factory chapel. Rules for company's drum and fife band (1873) and its string band (1883) are also present.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1808 John Heathcoat of Duffield invented the twist net lace machine. The following year, John Boden terminated his connection with Oliver and Cartwright, Loughborough based hosiers, and joined forces with Heathcoat. Together they set up a factory in Loughborough, which lasted only until 1816 when fifty-five of the twist net lace machines were destroyed by Luddites.

Following the destruction of its machines, the company moved to Tiverton, Devon and, with the expiration of Heathcoat's patent in 1821, formed a new partnership of Messrs Boden, Morley and Grace. They began manufacturing lace at both Barnstaple, Devon and in Derbyshire. The factory at Castlefields in Derby had a works chapel, concert room and almshouses built for the workers in 1886.

Grace left the partnership soon afterwards and for a short time the firm was known as Boden, Morley and Johnson. This was soon changed to Boden and Morley, and remained as such until the dissolution of the partnership in 1853. From this time the firm became Boden and Company, until the formation of a limited company in 1909. During part of this period Henry and Walter Boden were in partnership with Charles H. and William J. Smith.


Material is arranged chronologically within series subdivided by form (e.g. accounts, correspondence).

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: 2 Typescript Catalogues; 3 pp and 13 pp
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: 2 Typescript Catalogues; 3 pp and 13 pp

Separated Material

  • Records of John Heathcoat and Co. Ltd., lace and silk manufacturers, together with family papers, are in the Devonshire Record Office.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The first series of records came to the University Library from the company in 1964. A second transfer was made in 1975. Photographs within the collection were copied from material loaned to the Library in 1979.