Cat no. 51

The Story of Coco Matting

Running time10:25 Colour Silent 1947 Hadleigh, Suffolk

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Making coco matting at E.H. Price's Brett works, Hadleigh.

Genre:

DocumentaryEducational

An interior family scene of a child playing on coco matting whilst his mother sits in a fireside chair reading. The story of coco matting is told as the mother explaining its origins to her son. A map shows the route of the raw material coming into Britain. A boat comes into port and then a lorry brings the raw material to the factory. The coir yarn is shown as it arrives. The film shows the dyeing vats and the yarn undergoing the dyeing process. After the dyeing process skeins of green and red yarn dry on the racks in the open air behind the factory. The yarn is wound onto bobbins to form both the warp thread and the weft for the woven matting. The 'creels' and 'cops' are shown mounted onto the loom and the loom is shown in operation, weaving a roll of matting. The film cuts away to the roll as it is rolled out and cut by hand using a pair of scissors. It is bound by sewing machine. The mats are then packed, revealing a range of colours and different weaving styles, and loaded onto a lorry. The final shots are of the mother and child back in their home.

Background Information:

In 1946 Peter Boulton and Gilbert Hawker set up Boulton Hawker Films. Their main objective was to make educational films. This is one of a series of films on local crafts made between 1946 and 1947. Boulton Hawker also made films on agriculture, market gardening and geography.The making of coco matting was the last vestige of the ancient weaving industry in Hadleigh. The film shows weaving in the Brett works of E.H. Price Ltd, who were the main employers in Hadleigh at the time. Mat weaving as shown continued in Hadleigh until about 1950; since then completed matting has been imported from India. (See D. Cleveland, East Anglia on Film, Poppyland Publishing, 1987. See also background information from: Holbrook, Suffolk, 1949, The Dairy Farmer.)

Featured Organisations:

E.H. Price Ltd

Peter Boulton

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