A cordier in the South Touraine c.1948

Towards the end of this entry is terrific image from the book I bought last year, Visage de la Touraine. It shows a local man carrying out the lost art of rope-making beside a river in the South Touraine ~ perhaps it is the Creuse(?).

Ropes (their look, smell and simplicity combined with incredible strength) and the art of plating fibrous materials has always fascinated me. However I never get past the simple art of plating garlic and onions!


Rope making used to be a huge cottage industry across Europe there are still tell-tale signs here and there – for example “Ropewalk” is a common place or road name found in most English towns and cities of any age. In the Touraine town of Loches there is a medeval entrance named Porte des Cordeliers ~ as you can see from the image, left, the approach is a long straight road – perhaps it is where they worked, or, maybe, the gateway is named after their Guild?  As ropewalks (long lanes where the rope was platted ~ rather like in the image below) became commercialised they famous for being sweatshops and, because the dust from the hemp that was used was explosive, there were frequent, dangerous fires.

A cordier (ropemaker) in the South Touraine c.1948

There are many videos of rope making by hand on YouTube ~ my favourite is one of kids having a great time creating their own rope click here.
Click to go to a site  with lots of links and information if you fancy having a go at making ropes in your own home! And you can download a boy scout guide to making ropes by hand using a simple machine ~ looks quite interesting, why not give it a go!

About Jim McNeill

I am a blogger on 'The Social History of the Touraine region of France (37)' and also 'The Colonial History of Pennsylvania and the life & Family of William Penn'. I am a Director of Fresh Ground Group Ltd.
This entry was posted in 20th Century, Cannabis and Hemp production, Loches, Ropemaking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A cordier in the South Touraine c.1948

  1. Colin Dyson says:

    Interseting post Jim, could be the Cruese or maybe the Indre. 1948 is not so long ago but before the extenmsive use of plastic. Colin 🙂

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