Economy and Industry

After the decline of the wool trade, Coggeshall’s economy centred around cloth, silk and velvet with over half of the population employed in its production. The cloth trade is first linked with the town in 1557 as a well established industry but the onslaught of various trade laws brought about the decline of the trade. The last book order entry for cloth production is listed as November 14, 1800.

The 1851 Census showed Coggeshall to be one of the most industrialised places in Essex. However, the English silk industry was being artificially supported by a ban on imported silk goods; Continental silk was cheaper and of a higher quality. When Parliament repealed the ban in 1826 and later reduced and finally removed duties on French silk, English weavers were unable to compete and Coggeshall’s economy was devastated.

The town again found fame in Tambour lace, a form of lace-making introduced to Coggeshall around 1812 by a Monsieur Drago and his daughters. The production of this lace continued through the 19th century before dying out after the Second World War. Examples of Coggeshall lace have been worn by Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II.

Coggeshall was noted for the quality of its Brewing, in the late 19th century having four well established institutions. In 1888 Gardner and Son were awarded the Diploma of Honour at the National Brewer’s Exhibition. The brewery buildings have undergone alternative use in recent years, with several now used a residential buildings and another used as the Coggeshall Village Hall.  In 2008 the Red Fox Brewery was opened near Coggeshall

By the end of the 19th century gelatine and isinglass production was well established at a site on West Street, production continued until ceasing in the late 1980s.

In the mid 19th century John Kemp King established seed growing in the area where it continues to this day.