Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory

Image: An exterior view of buildings at Lowe’s rope manufactory. Much of the firm’s production took place in the open air. The stretcher board on the left is at Bewdley Museum. The railway viaduct of the Severn Valley Railway is in the background.

[Image from: Bewdley Museum]

3. Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory (2)

Tradition indicates that that the business was established in 1801, but the first precise reference is in an assignment of leasehold in 1813. In that year Richard Lowe (c.1772-1826) is named as the occupier of a ropewalk in Wribbenhall, which was across the river from the main Bewdley settlement and conveniently next to roads to Kidderminster and Stourbridge. Lowe, a member of Bewdley’s Baptist congregation, also acquired the lease of the property. He established a family firm which survived until its closure in 1972. His sudden death in 1826 left his wife, Mary, to raise a family of eight children. Mary also took charge of the business. Her letter books demonstrate her authoritative command of its needs in a competitive environment. She had to negotiate with suppliers, demand payment from customers, employ workers, ensure quality and deal with the problems caused by bad weather and difficult neighbours. She did not retire until 1845 at the age of 69, when her three sons took over the business.

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943-0Rope Making 288-0Rope Making and Bewdley 279-0Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory 301-0Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory 272-0Work and Labour 282-0Work and Labour 273-0Products and Markets 299-0Products and Markets 286-0Rope Making: Dressing or Hackling 280-0Rope Making: Spinning 283-0Rope Making: Laying the Rope 296-0Rope Making: Inserting the Tops 285-0Rope Making: Stretching 291-0Rope: Making: Mechanisation 300-0The Decline of Rope Making