Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 138,038 pages of information and 222,628 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Dobsons and M. Browne and Co

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of DelBeta House, Queen's Road, Nottingham. Telephone: Nottingham 8261-2. Cables: "Brun, Nottingham". London Showroom: Empire House, St Martins-le-Grand, EC4

  • WWII. During the war, Dobsons and Browne devoted most of its output to the production of mosquito and camouflage netting.
  • As a means of retaining the skills and standards of their highly trained designers and draughting staff who were under-employed by the wartime production requirements, the firm took up the idea of making a large commemorative lace panel.
  • The design for the panel took two years and the drafting for the jacquard (pattern cards) another 15 months.
  • The pattern required 40,000 cards, weighing a tonne altogether.
  • Each panel took a week to produce and required 4,200 threads and the preparation of 975 bobbins for the loom. A total of 41,830 kilometres of fine Egyptian cotton went into the making of each panel, which measured 4.5 x 1.62 metres when completed.
  • The panel depicts scenes of the bombing of London, and the types of aircraft used in the battle, as well as the badges of the Allied air forces involved and the floral emblems of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Also included are the names of the firm and the craftsmen from Dobsons and Browne who created the work. At the bottom on a scroll are Sir Winston Churchill's famous words: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few." A cottage and a castle are also depicted, to indicate that rich and poor suffered alike. The edging of the curtain is composed of ripening ears of corn representing the season during which the Battle of Britain took place. Interwoven with these are Tudor roses, thistles, shamrocks, and oak leaves.
  • Thirty-eight panels were woven before the jacquards were destroyed. King George VI and Sir Winston Churchill were each presented with one, and others were distributed to various RAF units, and to Westminster Abbey, the City of Nottingham (where the panels were woven), the City of London, and personnel from Dobsons and Browne. As airmen from New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Australia had been attached to various RAF units, these countries also received a panel.
  • As of 2010, the location of thirty of these panels is known. [1]
  • Brian Farr adds;

'Rather than 26000 miles of fine Egyptian cotton, each panel can be shown to contain about 14 miles.

Furthermore, the loom was capable of producing 4 panels at a time in about 2 hours (this throws the total number made into doubt as it should possibly be a number divisible by 4) and the Jacquard would have consisted of between 10,800 to 16,200 cards depending upon the methods used, rather than 44,000.'


  • 1942/46 Commemorative Lace Panel, Battle of Britain. [2]
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Furnishing Nets and Fabrics. (Earls Court, Ground Floor, Stand No. 82) [3]


See Also

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  • [2] Australian War Memorial

Sources of Information

  1. Correspondent BF 6th August 2010
  2. [1] Collections Online
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair p82