Not usually much of one for princesses – to the point I throw up at first sight of a Disney princess – but this is one who had her own spinning school! Got to admire a woman with her own spinning school!
I’ve been researching much lowlier spinning and knitting schools of the 18thC and 19thC, than this one. But it’s something I found along the way…
I’m told ‘the princess’ was Alexandra, Princess of Wales. Apparently, Alexandra made her own hats and thought long and hard before buying a new frock. Blimey. They don’t make them like that anymore…
From The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Friday, September 18, 1896
In a fully-illustrated article entitled ‘Round and About Sandringham’, in the first number of the ‘Temple’ magazine, there is a description of the pretty house, covered in creepers, where Fraulein Noedel, a former governess to the young Princesses, lives and conducts a technical school for girls….. during the last year or two spinning has been added [to the curriculum] , the Princess herself taking great pleasure in the practice of this ancient art. She uses a black spinning wheel, decorated with ribbons in the red and white colours of Denmark. Her Royal Highness started the spinning school as a means of instructing delicate girls in the adjacent parishes in an occupation which they could follow in their homes. It was very interesting to walk round and see them busy at work at the whirring wheels. Upon the walls hung bags of flax and wool, the latter taken from the flocks on the Sandringham estate. Some…were knitting stockings for the fishermen….
And here is – not a Danish, but a Swedish wheel from the lovely Renee Darley, whose site you can find here. Renee is a Yorkshirewoman who lives in Jämtland, Sweden and has been busy rescuing Spelsau sheep, this winter amongst other things! Renee rescues and restores old Scandinavian wheels. This wheel gives us the idea. British wheels were rarely painted. You can see more of Renee’s wheels in the Longbacken Group on Ravelry.
And, from the 1890s:
Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, England), Saturday, March 26, 1898
SELECTIONS FOR LADIES .
A curious revival is that of the spinning wheel. Crowds of society women flock to the spinning school near Bond-street, and already there are many proficients. Several ladies have spinning wheels in their boudoirs, and the fashion seems rapidly spreading.