Hidden History - Women in Industry

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Cutting patterns at Flawns, Porthmeor Road, St Ives, 1958 (credit: St Ives Archive)
Cutting patterns at Flawns, Porthmeor Road, St Ives, 1958 (credit: St Ives Archive)

The Hypatia Trust and its History 51 project, to promote women's heritage in Cornwall, is delighted to support this fabulous event on 25 October at the Western Hotel, St Ives, to celebrate the women of St Ives's historical textile industries.

Please come along to this free event and support Cornish women's heritage in St Ives.

St Ives is well known for its fishing, mining, artists and tourists, but for about forty years it was the home of a vibrant textile industry based in former pilchard cellars near to The Island.

The industrial manufacture of textiles is not usually associated with a seaside town in Cornwall. The majority of the employees were women who went into the factories when they left school at the age of fourteen. Maybe for this reason the work that they did has almost been forgotten. The Town Council, by the 1970s, had removed all traces of industry from the centre of St Ives and transferred it to new industrial estates.

And the buildings themselves were demolished to make way for luxury accommodation to expand the tourist industry.

St Ives Archive is part of the wider History 51 project in Cornwall initiated by the Hypatia Trust with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the role of women in a number of key aspects of Cornish life.

What better project for St Ives than to highlight and bring to life the story of these factories and the people who worked there?

On Friday 25 October at the Western Hotel, Royal Square, St Ives, between 11.00am and 3.00pm volunteers from the Archive will be hosting an event and workshop to which as many employees as possible are invited from the various textile companies located Downlong between the 1930s and 1970s: Crysede, Hamptons, Flawns, Berketex and Fryers.

Members of the public and visitors to the town are very welcome to see this display of St Ives hidden history.

Let's make one giant net for St Ives!

One of the key events will be an opportunity for everyone to assist in the making of a ‘camouflage net’ of memories. These nets were originally made at home, during the war, by young women and children, based on the nets that were made by their fishermen relatives. Camouflage nets had strips of material inserted into them (scrimmed) so that they could be draped over objects that needed to be hidden from the air.

On this occasion, strips of calico with individual memories and images will be sewn into the net, and these will be a lasting reminder of this chapter of St Ives history. As the original nets were used to hide objects, the new net will remind us that women’s working lives are also often hidden.

The Archive will present this fascinating history through personal memories, photographs, memorabilia and a display of the fashions of the time. One of the companies, Flawns, was owned by John Lewis, which has been very supportive in providing images and information from their extensive archive.

The day will be filmed and refreshments will be served. It is hoped that the resulting camouflage net will be on permanent display, ensuring that this important period of St Ives history is never forgotten.

Women making camouflage nets at Hamptons factory on The Island, St Ives, during World War 2 (credit: St Ives Archive)
Women making camouflage nets at Hamptons factory on The Island, St Ives, during World War 2 (credit: St Ives Archive)

Rug Tales in Helston

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The History 51 Roadshow, organised by the Hypatia Trust, is going to Helston Folk Museum on Saturday 12 October.Download the Rug Tales poster and share it with your friends (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Rug Tales will be a FREE, practical, fun-filled workshop led by Diane Cox of the Mesdames Myrtles rug hooking group (and well-known We Are Not Doormats). Mesdames Myrtles have been creating seven rugs inspired by the History 51 project representing different historical Cornish women. This workshop, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will demonstrate how biographies of women in Cornwall needn’t just be written but they can also be made. Mesdames Myrtles have been creating stories of seven women as part of History 51.

So if you want to have a go at rug hooking and find out more about it, this is the event for you.

Rug hooking is an ancient art, largely passed down through the generations by women. It is a wonderful way to make beautiful new things from old remnants and clothes, and to have fun choosing the colours you love. You don't have to be arty, already skilled or able to draw!

Date: Saturday 12 October 2013

Time: 10am-4pm

Venue: Helston Folk Museum (Old Butter Market, Market Place, Helston, TR13 8TH. Tel: 01326 564027)

Cost: FREE

Booking: Email: curator@hypatia-trust.org.uk or telephone (if leaving a message please leave your name, a return phone number or email address) on 01736 366597).

You don't have to be arty, already skilled or able to draw!

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What's going on?

  • Learn the ancient technique of rug hooking -- a skill for life
  • Hear Diane Cox talk about this important part of women's heritage
  • All materials provided and a chance to buy your own beautifully crafted rug hook at the end so you can carry on at home (£15 on the day)
  • Bring your own sharp scissors if you  have a pair
  • Bring any old cloth fabrics whose colours you love, e.g. old T-shirts
  • Be inspired by the stunning collections of Helston Museum
  • Tea, coffee and refreshments provided
  • Bring your own lunch or break and have lunch in the ancient Cornish town of Helston

Places limited, book now!

Email: curator@hypatia-trust.org.uk or telephone (if leaving a message please leave your name, a return phone number or email address) on 01736 366597).

Olly Pickford's Cornish Land Girl rug in the making (credit: Olly Pickford)
Olly Pickford's Cornish Land Girl rug in the making (credit: Olly Pickford)

Sea Women in Fowey on 7 September

Sea Women in Fowey 7 Sep 2013

Who said women stayed at home while men went to sea?

Join us in Fowey to hear expert historians talk about the women that shaped our seas and coasts and come on a free tour of historic Fowey and its harbour.

The next History 51 Roadshow FREE event will be in Fowey on Saturday, 7 September 2013.

Booking essential. Sea Women in Fowey poster(download PDF, 641KB)

Book now! Email or call Jo Schofield: Email: jschofield54@aol.com Phone: 01326 231146.

Event details

A free community history event organised by the Hypatia Trust in association with Fowey Harbour Heritage Society.

Places are limited and booking is essential.

When? Saturday 7 September, 10.30am-4pm

Where?Fowey Library (Meeting Room)

What?

In the morning from 10.30 at Fowey Library meeting room:

  • Dr Helen Doe on enterprising maritime women
  • Dr Leonie Hicks on women in the Viking world
  • Celebrate Lady Elizabeth Treffry
  • Digital display of old documents and images
  • Free tea and refreshments

Lunch from 12.30: DIY or bring your own.

In the afternoon from 2pm, for about 1.5hrs.

  • Town and harbour walking tour
  • Wear sensible shoes and keep an eye on the weather forecast

Bookings

Places are limited so please book your place with Jo Schofield by email or telephone.

You will be asked whether you want to book for the morning and afternoon tour or just the morning. NOTE: You will not be able to book only for the afternoon tour.

Email: jschofield54@aol.com Phone: 01326 231146

Location and travel

See location on map

Fowey Library and One Stop Shop Caffa Mill House 2 Passage Lane FoweyPL23 1JS

Parking

There are 20 spaces next to Fowey library.

Other town carparks. The Fowey Town Bus operates from the Main carpark at the top of town.

Public transport

Western Greyhound buses nos. 524 and 525 from St Austell and Par railway stations.

Other public transport options.

Ferry and taxi information.