handspinning History Textile Arts

High-end Spinning Schools

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.

Painted wheel from Northern Sweden

And, from the 1890s:
Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, England), Saturday, March 26, 1898


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.


5 replies on “High-end Spinning Schools”

A quick update; the wheelmaker reneged on our agreement. It took him two years and $1500 of my money before he told me. I now have my money back. I am EXTREMELY saddened that I didn’t end up with a replica of that stunning wheel Rene has.


Renee’s wheel is the inspiration for my very first custom wheel (made by Carson Cooper). Although I have never met Renee, she has a special place in my heart. She is such a wonderful, giving woman. I am naming my wheel after her!

Bogiesgirl on Ravelry


Another interesting post — I had no idea about spinning schools, and ‘selections for ladies’ sounds as though it could well apply now (certainly I know several people who have spinning wheels in their boudoirs, though whether they would describe the rooms as ‘boudoirs’ or themselves as ‘ladies’, I’m not so sure)…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.