Britain’s last remaining professional female ropemaker fears the ancient craft might die out
  • 2 months ago
Britain’s last remaining professional female ropemaker fears the ancient craft might ‘die out’ if she can’t secure an apprentice in time.

Caroline Rodgers, 56, who is just one of 11 traditional manufacturers left in the country, said it would be ‘tragic’ if the 300-year-old heritage trade ceased to exist.

The grandmother previously spent months learning how to make the exquisite cords when she joined manufacturer Outhwaites in Hawes, North Yorks., seven years ago.

But after the business closed in 2022, she bought one of their 40-year-old machines and set up her own company, Askrigg Ropemakers, to carry on the tradition.

Caroline, who makes a range of products from cotton including traditional halters for cattle, now hopes she can find someone willing to keep the craft alive in the future.

She said: “I’m the only one in the Yorkshire Dales where I live, and there’s been one here since 1905.

“So for me it’s not about the business, it’s not about making loads and loads of money, it’s about keeping the tradition alive.

“If it means I’ve got to work 16 or 18 hours a day, I’ll work it because it’s that important that I keep it going.

“Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I can train up somebody who can do what I do, and just keep it alive, it’s so important.

“These traditions, once they are gone, they are gone. It’s sad that things like this have got to die. It’s not just a job – it’s keeping a tradition alive.”
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