Before the talk at our meeting on Wednesday 10 May 2023 at The Granary in Quay Lane, we were reminded of two outings. See Notices, below.
Talk by Liz Trenow, May 10th 2023
“For the Love of Silk”
Liz Trenow gave us a fascinating talk on the 300 year history of her family’s silk firm, Stephen Walters and Sons of Sudbury, with reference to her books. Following her work as a journalist, Liz enrolled in an MA for Creative Writing where she was noticed by an agent. She is now writing her 10th novel.
Liz gave us an overview of her family’s history. In 1685, the Huguenots, skilled silk weavers, arrived in London after the Edict of Nantes. Originally her family were mariners but in 1722, two Walters sons moved into the silk business in Spitalfields. Liz found the house where the Walters company began in 25 Wilkes Street, Spitalfields. Weavers moved out of London to Haverhill, Kettering and Braintree. Stephen Walters bought a site for silk manufacturing in Sudbury on Goal Lane where the Dental Emporium stands today. In 20th century, they purchased Glemsford Silk Mill. During WW2, they wove parachute material and after the war, they invented a dress material called Spinella. Part of the company made materials for furnishings and the other made clothing material. Today the company is run by nephew, Julius, and specialises in top end menswear.
Liz’s books are inspired by her family’s history: her first book “The Last Telegram” is set in Sudbury. Liz discovered her family had sponsored the Kindertransport scheme and trained Jewish refugees to become weavers. Liz’s Uncle John was in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. “The Secret Sister” is inspired by family war stories and the Bevin Boys who were conscripted in WW2 to work in the mines which was dangerous and undervalued work. Liz’s other books include “The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane”, “The Silk Weaver”, “The Poppy Factory”, “Under a Wartime Sky” and “The Forgotten Seamstress”. Liz suggested we read the books to find out more…… A very entertaining and enlightening talk.
On Friday 26th May there is a trip to Euston Hall, near Thetford. Admission is £14 per person for hall and garden. The cost of the coach is £18. Read about the Euston Estate at www.eustonhall.co.uk . This outing is open to non-members and leaves Sudbury Bus Station at 9am. Please contact 01787 372636 to book a place.
On Friday 23rd June there is a trip to Aldeburgh. The cost of the coach is £18.
The first stop is The Red House: Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears’ home in Aldeburgh offers a charming snapshot into the couple’s life. The farmhouse, nestled in a beautiful five-acre garden, is home to their collections and archive, alongside a gallery space, museum shop and outdoor café. Admission is £10. See https://brittenpearsarts.org/visit-us/the-red-house .
The middle part of the day will be spent at the sea-front, with a chance to sample fish and chips, visit the museum, admire The Scallop sculpture, and many other attractions.
Before heading home, we will visit Snape Maltings, which sits on the bank of the River Alde, surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just six miles from Aldeburgh. The beautiful heritage site, with its converted Victorian buildings, is home to independent shops, galleries and eateries, and several performance venues – including the world-famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
The coach leaves Sudbury Bus Station at 9am. Please contact 01787 372636 to book a place.