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A STUDY OF KNITTING SHEATHS FROM NORTH YORKSHIRE

Whitby Museum keeps an interesting collection of some thirty sheaths. These aids to knitting were traditionally called “sheath”, only becoming known as “stick” or “needle support” during the 20th century. With only one exception, those in the collection are made of wood and all are from 5 to 20cm long, most of them 10-15cm. This study aims to give a brief history of such practical as well as often beautifully carved...

September 28, 2017
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TEXTILE OBSERVATIONS FROM AN 1841 PLAN OF WHITBY

Maps and plans can often be valuable and informative primary sources for textile history research. This plan by Francis Pickernell over the coastal town of Whitby printed in 1841 is such an example, with its accompanying illustrative pictures. These images include, together with town buildings, the Bridge, West Pier and lighthouse, inhabitants out for a walk in their contemporary clothes and fisherfolk in both single-coloured and striped upper garments...

August 1, 2017
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FASHIONS FOR THE SUMMER SEASON – ADVERTISING 1855-1914

Advertisers, photographers, shop-owners and many others took the advantage of offering their services to the coastal tourists of Whitby, many stayed for weeks and sometimes months according to the ‘List of Visitors’ featured in the local newspaper. Studies into this subject were presented in 'The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914' – based on a multitude of primary sources giving evidence for that most drapers, tailors, dressmakers...

June 8, 2017
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COACHES & OMNIBUSES – SHOPPING ETC IN THE LONG 19TH CENTURY

Transport with coaches and omnibuses was an important way of movement for many people living at relatively short distances from a town or city as well as for holiday-makers aiming to reach coastal destinations. Reasons for travelling were varied – renewing one’s clothes or interior textiles, visiting friends, leisure trips, trading professionally or other personal needs...

May 9, 2017
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REDUCED PRICES ON TEXTILE GOODS – ADVERTISING 1855-1914

Drapers, tailors, dressmakers, milliners and other similar shop-keepers could have various reasons for offering goods to a lower price than normal. Advertisements giving evidence for this type of information to the customers were often mentioned in the terms of “reduced prices” or “special value” – whilst “sales” seldom were associated with a lowering of the price at this period according to adverts in Whitby Gazette...

April 23, 2017
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THE GREAT EXHIBITION IN 1851 – TEXTILE INFLUENCE ON A COASTAL TOWN

The Great Exhibition of 1851 displayed among many other technical inventions a considerable number of tools and machines that facilitated the preparation of every kind of textile. The Exhibition had enormous influence at the time, and probably made a major contribution to the optimism felt by the population as a whole in response to the industrial progress made in the Victorian period. During my research...

April 9, 2017
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18TH & 19TH CENTURY MARKING OF LINEN

In larger homes containing a considerable quantity of linen and underclothes that needed to be kept under control, some form of sorting system would be used to ensure that each item could be returned to its correct place after washing, mangling and ironing. Garments would be numbered, often with the owner’s initials or name added. The decorative and historical value – remembering the year one particular item was purchased, inherited or stitched...

January 19, 2017
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JET & DRESSED IN BLACK – THE VICTORIAN PERIOD

Mourning traditions and dressed in black have been described from several angles in my book The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914, which will here be exemplified by two short capes kept at Whitby Museum, advertisements from the local newspaper, censuses and a photograph showing a jet workshop from the 1890s. It may be noted that the jet industry had a very long history, but it was never more prominent than around 1870...

October 12, 2016
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THE LATE 19TH-CENTURY WOOLLEN MOVEMENT & HEALTH ASPECTS

Clothes and domestic textiles were important for health and fighting illness in the Victorian era. One aspect was that it was healthy to keep warm, and in this respect woollen clothes were unbeatable. Hence the Woollen Movement introduced in the 1870s; central to this was woollen underclothes, but all kinds of woollen garments now became more popular even among the wealthy, who had previously preferred cotton and silk material...

September 27, 2016
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EARLY PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS & VICTORIAN ADVERTISING

Whitby photographs depicting textiles and clothing can be traced back to the 1860s, but there is evidence suggesting that a photographic portrait studio was introduced already in 1848 via local advertisements in the 1856 Whitby Gazette – describing that the Mr W. Stonehouse’s business had been active ‘for a period of eight years’. This case study will briefly look in to his studio...

August 2, 2016
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THE MISSES STANGOE – MILLINERS IN LATE VICTORIAN WHITBY

Over time between 20 to 30 women worked in the millinery trade in the last two decades of 19th century Whitby, some as employed and others as apprentices or shop-keepers. The Misses Stangoe can be traced via censuses and regular advertisements in Whitby Gazette during twelve years, where it is possible to get a glimpse of their daily working life, what types of goods they had for sale...

May 18, 2016
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VICTORIAN & EDWARDIAN UMBRELLAS – A CASE STUDY

Umbrellas for protection in the rain and parasols for the sun – here I will give a few examples of the first mentioned from the small coastal town of Whitby during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. These umbrellas can be studied via advertisements in the weekly newspaper Whitby Gazette, two local photographs and preserved models...

April 1, 2016
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WATERPROOF GARMENTS – THE LONG NINETEENTH CENTURY

It is uncertain for how long people have been making their clothes waterproof with various kinds of wax or tarpaulin, but at least in the 1700s these methods were in common use and in the preceding century the so-called oilskins became popular – for outdoor needs, working coats and particularly for seamen’s clothing. The Mackintosh raincoat was also invented in the 1820s...

March 3, 2016
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TWO TEXTILE REMNANTS FROM THE MEDIEVAL WHITBY ABBEY

In the monograph The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914, my brief introduction of earlier periods touched upon the long history of Whitby Abbey. This post will give some further thoughts, studied via a preserved early 14th century embroidery that once was believed to have been part of the liturgical textiles of the abbey, and a book written by Lionel Charlton in the 1770s...

February 15, 2016
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TEXTILE SHOPKEEPERS IN A COASTAL TOWN – A CASE STUDY

My hope is that a continuation of textile observations with connections to the coastal community of Whitby can reveal some further previously unknown historical events and details. This first case study will give a glimpse of the female shopkeepers The Misses Scott, who can be traced to a number of primary sources dating from the 1890s to 1918...

December 17, 2015
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CONTENTS & INDEX with more than 3000 search words – THE TEXTILE HISTORY OF WHITBY 1700-1914

A comprehensive index with more than 3000 search words forms a vital part of this forthcoming monograph. This post shows the contents and full index. Including sail weaving & sailmaking, the drapery trade, economic & social history aspects, Victorian studies...

April 12, 2015
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SAMPLE PAGES – THE TEXTILE HISTORY OF WHITBY 1700-1914

The aim with this post is to present a couple of sample pages from my forthcoming monograph – including sailcloth weaving, dressmaking, material culture, knitting, laundry, dyeing of cloth and much more. This interdisciplinary study has also closely looked into manufacturing & trading, advertisements, port history...

April 1, 2015
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STUDY OF TWO EXQUISITE VICTORIAN FANS

The Whitby Museum Costume Collection contains a rich selection of Victorian and Edwardian fans... This “Textile Thought” aims to display some close-up images of two fans – one still in its original case – and a brief history of the usefulness and vogue for such luxury items.

February 11, 2015
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STUDY OF AN 1870s WOOLLEN DOLMAN

This woollen dolman originating from the 1870s is an example, demonstrating a practical use for the up-to-date fashion of the time together with great skill in design, hand stitching and machine worked features.

August 22, 2014
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WHITBY AS A SEASIDE RESORT IN THE EDWARDIAN PERIOD

Whitby had been a popular seaside destination for many years in the early 20th century; assisted by advertisements in the local paper from the mid 1850s where drapers, dressmakers, milliners and haberdashers tried...

June 20, 2014
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QUEEN VICTORIA & EDWARD VII – COMMEMORATIVE PRINTED TEXTILES

A unique collection of nine commemorative tray cloths, handkerchiefs, towels and scarfs printed on cotton or silk between 1863 and 1909 are included in the Social History Collection at Whitby Museum...

May 2, 2014
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SILK BROCADE DRESS – EARLY 1870s

Proficiency in making a complete dress, or a skirt and its related bodice, required a trained hand with an understanding of the many factors essential in creating a well-fitting garment. Correct measurements, and if possible multiple fittings during the sewing of the...

April 2, 2014
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LONDON WOOL MARKET – WHITBY GAZETTE IN 1860

The importance of the London & British Wool Market during the Victorian age is a fascinating and far-reaching subject, which is only briefly included in the research of the Whitby Gazette for my ongoing textile project. The aims with this “Textile Thought” are to share...

March 1, 2014
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DRESS IN CHECKED SILK FABRIC – LATE 1840s

Every detail of this late 1840s garment has been sewn by hand and much of the work would unquestionably require an experienced dressmaker, especially the link between skirt and bodice with its many complicated features, as is also the case with the bodice in general...

February 1, 2014
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GATHERING AND BELL-SHAPED SLEEVES

An example of how tight gatherings were prepared and sewn together with coarse linen thread in this hand-sewn silk dress from the mid to late 1850s. In general, drawing together considerable width in tight pleats of this kind especially in the back half of the skirt had long been a custom in England...

December 6, 2013
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VICTORIAN FASHION

The comprehensive Whitby collection related to clothing is unique in many ways for a small town, especially with its important collection of some 250 dresses, dating from the Victorian and Edwardian periods and up to the First World War (1837-1914)...

October 14, 2013
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LAUNDRY AND DYEING – 1850s to 1914

Washing, starching, ironing, repairing, altering and dyeing were important processes not only for keeping clothes clean but also to ensure that they continued to be wearable and remained fresh as long as possible. Fabric, the sewing of clothes, and ready-made garments were relatively expensive investments...

May 26, 2013