Restoring the last remaining tenter frames in England

Restoring the last remaining tenter frames in England

An archive image of people hanging cloth on tenter frames
Hanging cloth on tenter frames. Photo: Otterburn Mill.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £10,000 to £250,000

Date awarded
Location
Bellingham
Local Authority
Northumberland
Applicant
Otterburn Investments Ltd
Award Given
£85158
Led by Otterburn Mill, this project will carefully restore a relic from the textile industry to its former glory.

Tenter frames were an important tool in textile manufacturing that were used to prevent cloth from shrinking while it dried. Cloth would be hung over hooks on the wooden frame to stretch, dry and align patterns. The common phrase ‘on tenterhooks’ came from this process.

Believed to date from the late 1800s or early 1900s, the tenter frames at Otterburn Mill are the last surviving set in England. Although the beams and hooks are intact, the frames need essential repair work to ensure they last for many more years.

The tenter frames at Otterburn Mill are extremely important in remembering the industrial heritage of the country and it’s essential that they are preserved.

Euan Pringle, Owner of Otterburn Mill

Tenter frames in a field
The last surviving tenter frames at Otterburn Mill, Northumberland.

Once restored, the frames will be open for visitors to see at Otterburn Mill, along with interpretation that details the history of the textile industry in Northumberland.

The project will also work with a local theatre company, November Club to showcase the history of Otterburn Mill through an immersive theatre experience. This will be inspired by stories collected from workshops with local people and schoolchildren.

Euan Pringle, Owner of Otterburn Mill, said: “We are overjoyed that the restoration project has been made possible. The tenter frames at Otterburn Mill are extremely important in remembering the industrial heritage of the country and it’s essential that they are preserved.” 

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