In the 1960’s, while Ruth Stevens was still at Nottingham College of Art, she began working for a company called Birdcage, the first boutique in Nottingham. She crocheted various articles from ladies’ dresses to bikinis! Throughout the 60’s and 70’s she also made items for the George Best boutique in Altringham and others throughout the country. In the 70’s she specialised in leather handbags. All of this was performed whilst still teaching, as well as looking after a growing family.
Kitty Fisher’s Secret
Ruth Stevens started Kitty Fisher in 1983, when she decided to work with local Nottingham lace after leaving teaching to give birth to her youngest daughter. She opened her first retail units in what is now the trendy Hockley area of Nottingham, and later moved to large retail premises on Friar Lane. The shop specialised in selling goods manufactured from local lace including cushions, blouses, tableware and eventually bridal ware. The company was named “Kitty Fisher’s Secret” in homage to the courtesan’s famous taste for fine garments and furnishings.
In 1986 the company moved to Heathcoat Street where a separate bridal shop was opened, and larger premises were found for design and manufacturing. In 1988 the company opened shops in the Lace Hall on High Pavement in Nottingham. This was a working lace museum set in a wonderful converted church, with Burne-Jones windows and lace made on the premises.
After moving out of the Lace Hall, the company specialised in design and manufacture from its new base at Sir Richard Arkwright House, the original Arkwright mill in Woolpack lane. In the mid-nineties we shortened the name to simply “Kitty Fisher“. The company was then based on Stoney Street, which in Victorian times was the largest lace making street in the world.
We still specialise in beautiful Nottingham lace and we design and manufacture everything here in our own workrooms in Beeston, Nottingham. Most of our goods are now made for export, where traditional English design and quality are most prized, especially the USA and Japan. Our lace tableware can also be found in Harrods and other leading department and specialist stores here in the UK.
We hope this gives you a good idea of the background and tradition behind the products we make here at Kitty Fisher. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact us!