Created By: ODHS
Point 3. Moving on, walk a short distance to the uncontrolled crossing opposite the United Reformed Church. Look across at the small house between the United Reform Church and the Hairdressing Salon.
This is Number 44 and was the home of John Millward, a famous lace designer who specialised in designs for the crowns of babies’ caps during the first quarter of the 1800s. Around this time the local lacemakers were feeling the effects of the competition from the machine made lace in Nottingham. However, at first, the machines couldn’t copy anything with a round shape such as babies’ caps. So lots of these babies’ caps were hand made and many exported to America. John Millward also gave evidence to Parliament of the piracy of lace pattern designs. He was still winning awards for his designs at the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851.
The image of John Millward, see image in the link above, shows him as a tall gentleman, wearing a high ‘stove-pipe’ hat, and the cut-away tailed coat of the day. He had some sort of foot disability and was nicknamed ‘Dabfoot’ in the town!
The entry alongside his house, which goes through to East Street, is still known as ‘Mill’ards Entry’. Over the years Olneyites have dropped the ‘w’ in ‘Millward’.
This point of interest is part of the tour: A Lace Walk around Olney