antique textiles handspinning History

Talks And Living History, Spring/Summer 2015

Here’s some events coming up in the next few months. I’ll add in new ones as they’re finalised.

Caro lurks in shrubbery, Dove Cottage, Grasmere

24th February, 2 – 3 PM.

An Afternoon in Dove Cottage: For the Love of Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal.   Sold out!  My partner in crime, Caro Heyworth and I will be doing a fireside chat, at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where Dorothy Wordsworth wrote   her famous journal. We will be chatting along with Barbara Tonge about aspects of Dorothy’s Journal. We’ll be in early 1800s costume, with my spinning wheel, talking about Dorothy’s colourful descriptions of the Wordsworths’ neighbours and friends. Also home textile production of the local statesmen (yeomen) and the death of handspinning on Westmorland, Cumberland and Yorkshire farms, around the time the Wordsworths lived at Dove Cottage.

Mini Great Wheel at Armley Mills, Leeds
Mini Great Wheel at Armley Mills, Leeds

June 6th

Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum). Formerly the world’s largest woollen mill, now a stunning museum. We will be in the Weaver’s Cottage at Armley Mills as Luddites for the museum’s Wool Week. I will also, for some of the time, be in the Manager’s Office next door to the Weaver’s Cottage (swanky!) doing a  workshop on Your Textile Industry Ancestors. Come along if you want to know more about textile industry jobs, how to trace your textile industry ancestors. Or if you just want to meet some Luddites.

bankfield gw
Secret carving on underside of Welsh Great Wheel’s table. In storage at the Bankfield Museum, Halifax. CREDIT: Caro Heyworth

July 18th, PM.

York Guild, Yorkshire Museum of Farming.


“Woollen Spinning on The Great Wheel”.

I’ll go on about how to spin woollen true English longdraw style; ideal wool preparation, and how to spin on the Great Wheel.

Will be a chance for anyone attending to have a play on the wheels, afterwards!

My Jack Greene Great Wheel. Here being spun on by the lovely Emma, at Bolton Castle.
My Jack Greene Great Wheel. Here being spun on by the lovely Emma, at Bolton Castle.



The belief on which this is founded I have often heard expressed by an old neighbour of Grasmere.

SWIFTLY turn the murmuring wheel!
Night has brought the welcome hour,
When the weary fingers feel
Help, as if from faery power;
Dewy night o’ershades the ground;
Turn the swift wheel round and round!

Now, beneath the starry sky,
Couch the widely-scattered sheep;–
Ply the pleasant labour, ply!
For the spindle, while they sleep,
Runs with speed more smooth and fine,
Gathering up a trustier line.

Short-lived likings may be bred
By a glance from fickle eyes;
But true love is like the thread
Which the kindly wool supplies,
When the flocks are all at rest
Sleeping on the mountain’s breast.

William Wordsworth, 1812

Dove Cottage, Grasmere,  in the rain. CREDIT: Nathaniel Hunt
Dove Cottage, Grasmere, in the rain. CREDIT: Nathaniel Hunt

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