Baize fabric has been used since the 16th century for a variety of purposes and was possibly the first fabric to be used in sound proofing. Baize is a durable insulating fabric and was usually attached with brass tacks to doors. Green was the colour of choice and almost all houses of substance had a “green baize door” which separated the servants’ quarters from their employers’ living accommodation. Whilst many people believe that this separation was significant of status and privacy in reality it wasn’t. Behind the green baize door servants performed their duties efficiently without being interrupted by their employers which would have necessitated stopping work and exchanging civilities with them. You will often find reference to ‘behind the green baize doors’ usually related to servants in old novels and books. If you didn’t know what the expression meant, you do now and if you would like to learn more about it click on this link Borley Rectory and the Green-Baize Door
Doors and furniture fabric
As time progressed toward the Victorian era, red baize was used for soundproofing and insulation on bedroom, study, library and nursery doors. Baize was also an excellent fabric for absorbing kitchen and other household odours.
At the beginning of the 19th century baize (known as bocking flannel) was used throughout Europe in furniture. Its use today is often associated with snooker or pool tables but in those days it was used as a covering for furniture or for case, closet or cabinet lining.
The versatility of baize makes it a great protective fabric and the nap increases friction when it covers a snooker table making the balls slow down. Card tables are often covered in baize to stop the cards sliding and in churches, altars are often found covered in the fabric to protect surfaces.
Most households in Victorian times placed baize on the table before covering it with a table cloth. It reduced noise when moving crockery and cutlery about and gave even the thinnest linen an appearance of quality.
Baize wasn’t an expensive fabric and clothing quality was used to make uniforms for soldiers as well as habits for nuns and monks. Occasionally it was also used to make gowns for women.
Baize is the fabric of choice for sympathetic and authentic interior restorations. An historic fabric, unchanged in appearance, style and feel from its conception, this warm fabric adorns many historical and landmark interiors; taking pride of place in stately homes, castles and great buildings of authority.
Hainsworth Baize ensures authenticity in restoration projects, and provides the finishing touch in restoring antiquities to their original beauty.