A Lace Trail around Olney (Revised)

Learn about Harry Armstrong the last great character associated with Olney lacemaking

A Lace Trail around Olney (Revised)

Olney, England MK46, United Kingdom

Created By: ODHS

Tour Information

This trail provides an introduction to Olney's lacemakers and the associated cottage industry which lasted for over 300 years. Continental lacemakers came to this area of North Buckinghamshire as a result of religious persecution in their own countries from the late 1500s through to the late 1600s. The lacemakers, particularly those from Lille and Mechlin, settled here in Olney and taught local women to make bobbin lace.

The Points of Interest covered in the trail demonstrate that although most experienced lacemakers produced excellent fine lace they barely managed to scrape a living from their labours.

The original work for this trail was compiled by Elizabeth Knight and developed and edited for digital media by Mike Neale.

Completion of the full trail takes around 30minutes.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Olney Market Place

At Point of Interest No. 1 you should be on the Market Place near the War Memorial and facing south towards the Cowper and Newton Museum. Recent photo of the Cowper & Newton museum Continental lacemakers came to this area of North Bucki... Read more
The Old Penny House

Point of Interest 2. Stop at Evelyn House, next to Olney House (Number 15), and look across the street at the Old Penny House (Number 22) to the left of the archway, and the Honey House, the next property (Number 24) to the north. Recent ph... Read more
John Millward's House

Point of Interest No. 3. Stop at No. 51 High Street adjacent to the uncontrolled crossing and opposite the United Reformed Church. Look across the street at the small house between the United Reform Church and the Hairdressing Salon. A re... Read more
Harry Armstrong's 'Lace Factory'

At Point of Interest No. 4 you should be standing just beyond the former Butcher’s shop (No. 55 High Street) and be  situated opposite ‘The Lace Factory’ on the other side of the street. The site in the High Street (opposite) was vac... Read more
The Honey House

THE HONEY HOUSE Point of Interest No. 5. This position in the High Street is possibly a good position from which to let your eyes run along the roofline all the way down the High Street (on either side). The fact that there are few adjac... Read more
Berrell's (or Berrill's) Court

BERRILL'S COURT Point of Interest No. 6. Glance down the entrance to Berrell’s Court (next to the Chemist’s shop – No 14 Market Place) where many of the lacemakers lived in small thatched cottages.It is difficult to be precise about ... Read more
The Cowper & Newton Museum

THE COWPER & NEWTON MUSEUM Point of Interest 7. If you have not already done so recently, please visit the Cowper and Newton Museum to view the many lacemaking artefacts it contains, along with an excellent collection of local lace. The... Read more


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