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Ruskin Linen Industry
Biographical Account:

Albert Fleming, a trustee of the Guild of St George and his housekeeper, Marion Twelves set up the Linen Industry in the Lake District in 1883. With funding from the Guild of St George, Miss Twelves taught women in the Lake District to spin linen thread and produce embroidery and lace on quality hand-loomed cloth. These products could then be sold. Their aim was to create good quality products through skilful and creative methods and to run the business as a cottage industry enabling the women were able to work at home rather than in unhealthy factories.


In 1894, Ruskin allowed Miss Twelves to re-name the industry with his name. The industry was successful, selling even to royalty and it influenced new cottage industries such as the St George’s Spinners, based in Liverpool. The Ruskin Linen Industry was unable to continue after the 1920s; nonetheless, Ruskin lace and linen work continues to be taught and is still practiced privately.


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