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I began to see that my family history really could play a part in my novel. My father told me the family had become increasingly concerned about their Jewish friends and business colleagues in Europe so they decided to sponsor five German Jewish Kindertransport boys to work at the silk mill. All went well until when in the face of rampant spy fever these five young men along with thousands of other enemy aliens were interned by the authorities.

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They were sent on a gruelling three-month trip on the overcrowded troopship Dunera and incarcerated in the Australian desert at Hay Camp. After the scandal emerged the Government relented and gave the internees their passage home in return for signing up to fight for the Allies.

One of the boys called Kurt was determined to get back to Suffolk because he had fallen in love with a girl at the Sudbury post office. After fighting in the jungles of Burma he returned. He worked at the mill and married his sweetheart.


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This wonderfully romantic story inspired one of the main characters in my book The Last Telegram. Making conversation I said I was writing a story about parachute silk. My neighbour regaled me with the tale of a top-secret mission undertaken by his grandfather, a yarn merchant. At the height of the war he was sent to Syria and Lebanon via the Nile and North African coast to small hill farmers to encourage their production of raw silk for export for parachutes.

Noir Tale of Jade

The inspiring tale was crying out to be part of my novel. All of these wonderful stories were amazing food for thought and although the company, plot and characters in the book are fictional they were inspired by real people and events. I am intensely proud to be part of a silk family and its unique heritage. That silk lies at the heart of my story.

Its extraordinary qualities, its unique sweet, nutty aroma and the careful, complex processes that convert a dull caterpillar filament thinner than a hair into the most lustrous and luxurious of all fabrics.

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The company, now managed by my nephew, is still going strong in the same mill on the same site next to our former family home, weaving luxury fabrics prized by customers all over the world for their design, quality and made in Britain history. Most of all I am proud of my father and tens of thousands of others for their tireless work behind the scenes of the home front, playing a critical role in helping to keep this country safe. For more information seeliztrenow. The truth should be spoken boldly: In a Katu village in Attapeu Province, southern Laos, we encounter a unique traditional woven expression: These lead-beaded textiles carried a luscious chainmail drape and rare surviving pieces now fetch hundreds of dollars a square foot.

In the early 20th century, colorful factory-made glass beads became readily available, and the art of bead-making disappeared. By the midtth century, chemical dyes were readily available, and the time-consuming art of naturally-dyeing cotton yarns was soon forgotten.

Bold Defiance - Bristol Radical History Group

Recently, acrylic yarns have replaced handspun cotton, and the regional skill and art of growing, harvesting, and spinning cotton has virtually vanished. Today, this Katu village still hand-weaves beaded textiles on back-strap looms—albeit for tourist sales. At what point is the integrity of authenticity challenged? The rolls look much like the hand-spliced, handwoven, indigo-dyed wax-batiked hemp that has been central to the local economy and to regional cultural identity for generations. In the marketplace, this factory-made fabric costs a fraction of what the local hemp weavers must charge.

Bold Defiance

What does makes a textile traditional? The method of creation? The label or purveyor? Supporting traditional textile art, artists, and cultures, by definition, impacts the art, artists, and cultures we seek to celebrate. That is, our support generates change. This is so right on, all over the world. Among many other things she told me that now the fashion changes every four months or so.

This is for local women, not tourists. I admit, going to Laos some of the first few trips, I was disappointed to see that the designs for the skirts borders were not the same as those I had seen published in previously written books. The new fashion was not clear animal figures, but more geometric renditions.