After an enjoyable breakfast, and helping our hosts with their DVD recorder, we all had lunch then, us two took ourselves off to the 'Redditch Needle Museum'
"Thousands of Uses for Millions of Needles"
We were the only two in the museum. It was extremely interesting. It showed how the metal was stretched and stretched to make the thin wire, then it was rolled to make it finer. The very fine wire was then cut into short lengths and stamped in the middle with two elongated holes, and then threaded onto two straight pieces of metal and sent onto the next procedure which was usually done by women and children at home in their cottages. The needles were snapped in the middle and the rough ends near the hole were filed off. They were sent back to the factory where men who were highly paid because they were probably dead by thirty ground the points finely, the dust from the stones and the filings from the metal would get onto their chest, not a healthy job at all. They were paid one guinea (£1.5 pence) per week. They went on strike when the owner said they were going to put in a ventilation system, because they said their wages would get reduced. The ventilation went in and the wages were reduced! But they did return to their job! After the grinding the needles were packed tightly into hessian with fine sand and soap-suds and rolled till they shone.