What’s needling Kirkley WI?


Did you ever wonder how the eye got into a needle?

If you did, members and guests at Kirkley WI could tell you as Barry Mead addressed the topic at their June meeting.

He spoke about the Fargo Mill Needle Museum at Redditch, where he had been curator. Needles had been produced there since the 17th century. The factory, over the years, has manufactured a range of all types of sewing and knitting needles, as well as gramophone needles and fish hooks.

The first illustration was a selection of sample packets of needles used to advertise businesses and companies.

Members were then taken through the stages in the production of a sewing needle. Crushed wire was cut into lengths, and the lengths were then pointed on stones, which was a dangerous activity.

Following stamping and eyeing, the needles were hardened and tempered. Later, they were scoured and washed before being packed into barrels.

During the 19th century, Charles Dickens was worried about the illiteracy of workers and factory inspectors were concerned about the arduous working conditions.