There are many ways of making lace. The two main ways are bobbin lace or pillow lace and needlelace.
By 1600 bobbin lace making existed in England, as well as in other parts of Europe. Whereas hollie point, an English needlelace was found to be used in baby clothes and christening sets during the 18th and 19th century. This type of lace is completely flat and is usually made at home as it is mainly an amateur craft.
It appears that early laces were made mainly for the domestic market and the main lacemaking centres were in Buckinghamshire, East Midlands, Bedfordshire and the Honiton area of Devon. Scotland and Ireland have been referred to as making lace from the 17th century. In Glasgow there is evidence that girls were sent to a French lacemaker who lived in Renfrew, to learn lacemaking.
Fashion has always played a big part in the production of lace from the 16th century to present day. Queen Victoria gave her patronage to Honiton lace when she commissioned lace to be made for her wedding in 1840. This consisted of a skirt flounce, a veil and matching dress trimmings.
Due to the Industrial Revolution lacemaking was greatly affected and at the end of the 18th century the first machine lace was made. By 1870 most types of handmade lace were able to be copied by machine. Therefore by 1900 the majority of lace made by hand had disappeared.
Nevertheless, today there is still lacemaking in the UK as a craft and individuals do continue making and teaching this skilled, beautiful and delicate art.