Industrial Heritage

Ropewalk Arts and Craft Centre, Barton-upon-Humber,

North Lincolnshire - Part 3


Rope making - Spinning, finishing and closing


Rope is made by twisting short weak fibres together to make a long strong cord. This is called SPINNING.
 
Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

Hemp fibres absorb water easily making them liable to rot. The were dipped in molten tar in large vats and then left to dry before spinning. Originally spinning was done by hand using huge spinning wheels. As the wheel turned, the spinner walked backwards pulling out the fibres allowing them to twist. The yarn was collected onto a bobbin. They were expected to produce three and a half miles of rope a day. The process was mechanised in the mid C19th.

Ropewalk Arts and Craft Centre,
              Barton-upon-Humber

The final stage in the process of making a rope is FORMING AND CLOSING, which took place on the long rope walk.
 
Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

Ropewalk Arts and Craft Centre,
                Barton-upon-Humber

The fibres from the bobbins were attached to a register plate.

Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

As this moved down the length of the rope walk, the fibres were pulled off the bobbins and twisted to from a thicker strand, called a yarn. The process was repeated using three or more yarns to make a rope, or strand. By opening the doors of the ropewalk, ropes could be made up to 200 fathoms (365m) long.
 

Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

Ropes had to be closed to stop them unravelling. This was done by attaching strands to a hook on the traveller and the other ends to a twister. The strands could be twisted in the opposite direction to during forming to stopped them unravelling. Loops could be added at this stage.

Ropes had to be tested for strength and stretch before being sold. Synthetic ropes were stronger than natural fibres but they could break without warning.

The finished rope would be wound into large balls on the balling machine.

Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

The final display is labelled HALL MARK ROPES. The ropes made by the Hall family at Barton upon Humber were shipped all over the world for use in shipping, and fishing as well as heavy industry and construction. There are examples of the different types of rope made here.

Ropewalk Arts and Craft
                Centre, Barton-upon-Humber

The Ropewalk Arts and Craft Centre is open daily from 10-5 (4pm on Sundays). The post code is DN18 5JT and the grid reference is TA 029228.

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