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Pilgrim Fathers.... Leiden cloth industry

n the 14th and 15th century Leiden was famous for its cloth, made of English wool. Towards the end of the 15th century the demand for this thick woollen fabric diminished. Also, the English began to process their own wool, so less wool came to Leiden. After the fall of Antwerp in 1584 a stream of refugees fled northwards. Craftsmen among them brought along know-how on the production of other woollen fabrics, like "saai", a more supple and cheaper fabric than cloth. In this way the refugees were responsible for the resurgence of the textile industry. Each process in the production of cloth had its own hall. The most sumptuous is the Lakenhal (Cloth Hall), especially built for the inspectors of the fabric. Nowadays the municipal museum is housed here.

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