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Bromley Hall

Thought to be one of the oldest brick buildings in London, Bromley Hall dates from 1485 (the Tudor period). It was once a rural retreat by the River Lea for John Blount, courtier to Henry VIII. Blount’s daughter, Elizabeth would go on to become one of Henry’s mistresses.

The Hall has changed hands many times over the centuries, but from the 1680s to the 1820s it was owned by various members of a distinguished Quaker Family, who developed it into one of the largest calico printing factories on the River Lea.

Bromley Hall was ideal for a textiles factory as it had extensive grounds for the printing works and access to the Lea for a steady water supply, crucial to the process.

By 1799 the business was known as Talwin & Foster and their prints were highly sought after. They were known for using the technique ‘English blue’, in which indigo is printed rather than dyed.

Today examples of their prints are found in a number of American museums (where they enjoyed a lucrative market) and a pattern book of plate designs is held within the V&A collections.

 

Image credits:
1. Bromley Hall, 1890 © Bromley Hall
2. Bromley Hall and garden, 1930 © Bromley Hall
3. Plate-printed cotton made by Bromley Hall ca. 1775-1785 © Victoria & Albert Museum, London
4. Bromley Hall pattern book ca. 1760-1800. Given by the Calico Printers’ Association Ltd © Victoria & Albert Museum, London
5. Bromley Hall watercolour, 1898 © Bromley Hall