During the nineteenth century the machine-made lace industry developed, in particular in the midlands of England and the northeast of France. The machines were initially set up in houses and small buildings in villages and towns around Nottingham and Leicester in England and Calais and Lille in France. Later they were established in greater numbers in purpose-built factories.

In Calais during the early years of the 19th century, the lace machines and the workers moved out of the town within the confines of the fortified walls and into the open village of St Pierre-lès-Calais to the south. With an influx of people needing buildings for their machines and in which to live, the village began to grow and before the upheavals of 1848 it is this developing village of St Pierre-lès-Calais as the lacemakers knew it .

Calais from the harbour


Old Calais - These views of Calais and St Pierre-lès-Calais were made around 1900.

The postcards of Calais and St Pierre are available to us due to the generosity of Gillian Kelly.

If you have an appropriate image of a building, village or town where your lacemaking ancestors lived or worked, please contact us.

The Old Town - Courgain Maritime

Quai de la Colonne looking south towards the lighthouse

The Old Town

Looking north from Tour du Guet over Place d'Armes towards the boat harbour, Fort Risban and the English Channel.

The Courgain Maritime is far right.

Tour du Guet is a 16th century watch tower.

The Old Town

Looking north towards the original casino located on the beach dunes

Place d' Armes

The old town looking north east towards the lighthouse built 1848

The Old Town

Looking northwest from Notre Dame over Place d'Armes (centre) towards the original casino located on the beach dunes

Tour du Guet is on the left of the view.

The Old Town

Rue de la Citadelle now named rue d'Andre Gershel looking east towards Place d'Armes. Tour du Guet is at the rear with the now demolished Hotel de Ville at the end of the street.

Porte Royale c1830

Gate into the fortified town

The Old Town

Rue Royale

The Old Town

Rue Royale

The Old Town

Rue des Thermes

The Old Town

Rue du Havre looking north from Place d'Armes

St Pierre-lès-Calais

Boulevard Lafayette looking southeast from intersection with Boulevard Jacquard

St Pierre-lès-Calais

Boulevard Jacquard looking north

from intersection with Boulevard Lafayette

St Pierre Church c1830s


Corner rue Vauban and Quai du Commerce

Cottage today

St Pierre-lès-Calais

Lace workers cottages

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