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Who are we?


Descendants of the Lacemakers of Calais is a group of family researchers who continue the interest of the Australian Society of the Lacemakers of Calais Inc.

We are a web-based group that aims to provide a growing data base for the many researchers who are finding that their ancestors worked in the machine-made lace factories of Calais and who lived through the upheavals there in 1848. We also aim to foster connections between the descendants of those lacemaking families wherever they now live.

The Society was an incorporated association formed in 1982 to research the men, women and children who worked in the machine-made lace trade and migrated from England to France - in particular Calais - during the early 19th century and who then migrated from Calais to Australia in 1848 and early 1849. This interest included the machinery and equipment, processes, and products of the machine-made lace trade as well as the daily lives of these English workers who lived and worked with their French neighbours and often intermarried with them. The Society’s registration was cancelled in February 2020.

Our interest extends the original focus of the Society to include the lace workers and their families who, after the turmoil of 1848, either returned to England or stayed in Calais and lived out their lives in France. After 1848 some of the lace workers continued to use their skills in the lacemaking trade while others acquired new skills in work vastly different from their original trade. Some families prospered while others found despair and misery.

It is all these lacemaker families in Australia, England and France that we call the

Lacemakers of Calais.


Much of our information on this website is free to search. For more particular data, we can provide access to the lacemaker families pages for a modest one-off fee. Please contact us to gain access to the Lacemakers of Calais Families sections or to simply ask a question. We would love to hear your story.


Australian Society of the Lacemakers of Calais Inc. - who were we?

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