” Apparently, whenever the council painted something – whether it was a tenant’s door, a park bench or a lamp-post, they were flooded with complaints if they painted it green. Most complaints came from Hull’s elderly residents, and after a while it slowly dawned on the council that ‘it was something to do with trawling.’…”
Wrapped in a powdery shroud of lime, the streets were ‘disinfected’. How strange that must have been, padding through the white streets at twilight; watchful eyes at windows, fear behind every shutter, every door.
International Women’s Day, so here’s a quick post about the nineteenth century needlewoman and how she lived, and created her art, or was prevented from creating her art, plying the needle. More on this can be found in Chapter 4 of my new book, ‘Their Darkest Materials’, “The Small Woman – the Nineteenth Century Needlewoman” […]
So… ‘Their Darkest Materials’ is finally out. Thanks to all who have shown faith in it so far. Pre-orders sold briskly and we’d love anyone who has the pre-order to give us a quick review on Etsy. So far am getting really positive feedback and readers seem to be devouring it. We always knew we […]
…We’ll find out which Victorian novelist’s mauve ribbon was trapped in her coffin lid and discover clothing-as-evidence in an infamous London burking case (“Burking” as in “Burke and Hare”).
And we’ll watch a Yorkshire farmer’s wife knit a blue stocking on the morning of her murder and a caddish, handsome soldier murdering his stocking-knitting new wife. We’ll also spend time in the county asylum with a world famous dyer’s incendiarist wife and an embroiderer who used her art to say the unsayable…
Sometimes, I wonder what the point is of immersing yourself in a life where you talk about the past. But recent events have proved, it’s deeply important because if people with some kind of probity and rigour don’t do it, the past – like the Brexiteers’ annexing of ‘Blitz spirit’ – will be requisitioned by carpet-baggers like our current cabinet…
We’re in the very final stages now with the next book, ‘Their Darkest Materials’. It’s a kind of ‘Horrible History’ for grown-ups and explores the darkest side of textile history. If you want people falling into machinery; murderous but mesmerising soldiers; murders solved by stocking locations; cunning thefts of worsted and wool embezzlement; bewitched spinning […]
I wanted to search beyond the men who get all the credit and find the women who became spinners and teachers of spinning, weavers and embroiderers; reviving and refining craft skills from 1883 onwards. So whilst my talk won’t focus for too long on Fleming (a London solicitor, who lived at Neaum Crag, Langdale), I thought I’d share his words from an 1888 piece for an American magazine, here where they can find an appreciative audience.
“…I researched and wrote in the spirit of honouring lives that historians have often ignored and also in an attempt to understand something, however infinitessimal, about what ordinary people wore, or how their lives related to textiles; what their textiles could say about them and society…”
I knew all along I wanted to publish this one myself. It represents a lot of hard work and research, started around 2011 and is my (admittedly rather scary) baby that I didn’t want to entrust to anyone else. My favourite writers in this field publish themselves, presumably for similar reasons, as all of us are widely published elsewhere, by others, for articles, etc. But this book? I want to do this myself.