Guide to the Ropeworks
Welcome ...Willkommen...Bienvenue...to the Hawes Ropemakers
your visit this Guide will take you through the various manufacturing processes,
from the new building to the old building, finishing in our well stocked shop.
The headings below are matched by large signs on equipment throughout the two
buildings. We hope you enjoy your visit.
- For safety, please keep to the marked route and do not enter working
areas or machine rooms. Staff are happy to help with enquiries but may
not be able to interrupt or stop the job they are doing.
- Parents and Teachers!!
- Please remember your children are your responsibility and need to be
in your sight throughout your visit.
Runs the whole length of this new building. For a rope longer than 100 feet
(30 metres) we can open the door on the left and go outside, just like the
Here we use traditional methods to make bannister ropes,
barrier ropes and cattle halters. Other products, such as horse leading reins
and skipping ropes, are made throughout the day on our short ropewalk in the
Thomas Wharton (1778-1852) was a ropemaker in Hawes when the first national
census was taken in 1841. A century ago, most towns and villages had a ropemaker,
just as they had a local cobbler and blacksmith. Here in Hawes the ropemaker’s
products were used by farmers; near the coast sailors and fishermen used ropes.
Nowadays Outhwaite’s products go to more than 20 countries!
These machines produce warp-knitted braid in different diameters, about
finger thickness. We use these for making dog leads and clothes lines. Note
that the yarn is supplied directly to the machines from ‘creels’ behind
Dog Lead Store
Please look to your right - here is the colourful dog lead packing area, where
orders are being assembled for despatch to wholesalers and pet shops.
Beside the packing area, the famous Outhwaite Cleats are used to make handles
on dog leads and hold the trigger hook in place. Small plastic granules are
heated, melted and moulded around the braid to make a secure and neat fastening.
Your Club emblem or Company logo can be included on our dog lead; please
ask for details
Bannister & Barrier Ropes
look left - lengths of coloured rope hang ready to make into banister ropes
and barrier ropes. As orders arrive the rope is cut to the exact length required;
solid brass or chrome fittings finish off the product. Handmade decorative ‘rose
knots’ are used on the bannister ropes, which you will see advertised
in glossy magazines. There are displays, with order forms and free samples of
the coloured yarn used in Bannister and Barrier Ropes available on request.
Happy to Help!
Now we move out of this building via the door at the end. Staff are always
glad to assist visitors in wheelchairs - please do ask
From the Bridge
Ropeworks are usually long and rope-shaped. This one bends to follow the
Blackburn Syke (stream). There may be a street in your town called the
Ropewalk, the Ropery, or similar, marking the place where ropes used to be
Old Outhwaite Ropewalk
Numbers on the floor were used to measure, in feet, the ropes being made (1
foot = approx. 30 centimetres).
Video and Refreshment Room
Take the opportunity to take the weight off your feet whilst watching the Ropemakers
automatic and two semi-automatic winding machines are used to wind yarn onto
the bobbins used on the “Maypole” braiding machines.
Finished reels of twine and braid are wound on the traditional Leesona machine
on the left-hand wall.
These produce plaited cord for uses such as light pulls, carrier bag handles,
anorak draw cords etc.
The Shop and Traditional Ropemaking
We hope you enjoy browsing around our ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of
a shop. Here you can also watch yarns being ‘warped up’ for traditional
ropemaking. Part of the fascination of watching ropes made is the satisfaction
of seeing the complete process, in which many thin strands of yarn are rapidly
twisted into a strong rope.
We hope you enjoy your visit!