Occupation: Flowerer of Webs.....

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Occupation: Flowerer of Webs.....

Postby winslowsmom » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:05 am

I hope this is the correct category for unknown occupations. (or should it be under census?)

Anyhow, while looking at an 1851 census for Newton On Ayr yesterday,
I saw quite a few "Flowerer of Webs" . They were usually teenage girls or women in mining families, some from Ireland. None were my rellies, but it still piqued my curiosity.

A type of embroidery? An accoutrament for the mines or miners? An embellishment for doillies?

Does anyone know?
Cathy H
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Postby paddyscar » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:41 am

From: More About Sarah McBroom: Occupation: Flowerer of webs- embroidery & needlepoint

There are many flowers which are hand made and applied to doilies and embroideries that would give a 3D effect, so this may be that type of specialty.

Frances
John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow
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Postby setait » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:10 pm

She would have been working in the Ayrshire lace industry. Ayrshire lace is a type of "whitework" ie white-on-white embroidery which was done at home on a piecework basis. The needlepoint filling (floo'ering or flowering) was the most specialised technique and it's that which differentiates Ayrshire work from other types of whitework. You'll find lots of floo-erers (or spelling variants) in the mid-19th C censuses for Ayrshire as that's when the industry was at its height. I'm lucky enough to have a part-written autobiography of my great-grandfather (b 1848) and in it he says
"... my mother had to do something to help my fathers wage she was a good flourer as they call it in thon days that is a kind of embroidery and I was often away from the school going to the wairwoom with and getting new webs and doing some of the housework to let my mother get on with her work ..."
We've actually got an Ayrshire lace christening gown passed down in the family as an heirloom. Would you believe ... I've never seen it :oops: but I need to go home to my mother's next year and photograph it for something I'm doing.
In the meantime I'll put a photo of some Ayrshire work (taken at the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock) in the gallery so that you can see what it looks like.

Sheena

I was actually christened in the christening gown so I have "seen" it, I just don't remember!

This should be the link for the photo:
http://talkingscot.com/gallery/displayi ... p?pos=-321
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Postby DavidWW » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:44 pm

Sheena

Most interesting, thanks.

I didn't realise that this work was done outside the 3 Irvine (aka Loudon) Valley towns of Galston, Newmilns and Darvel.

Looks like they had home workers as far south as Ayr!, or was this just for the very highly skilled floo'ering?

David xmas:biggrin:
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Postby paddyscar » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:18 pm

Thanks Sheila, for posting that picture and the info. I've not seen Ayrshire lace before and it is truly beautiful. Imagine the time and skill needed to do this work, in bad light and no central heat, and probably not much pay.

It makes me embarrassed to say, but I couldn't achieve that, even with my embroidery sewing machine!

Frances
John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow
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Postby winslowsmom » Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:29 pm

Thank you Sheena and Frances for your replies, I am so glad that I asked, the photo was lovely, and the entry from your grandfather's letter was wonderful. It is really special when we get to fill in the picture like this.

Cathy H
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Postby sheilajim » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:28 pm

Hi Sheena

That embroidery was lovely. How lucky you are to have it and the letter of diary. :D

Sheila
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Postby pinkshoes » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:22 pm

Absolutely beautiful! I wonder if the person who put so much time and skill into that piece of work would have been pleased to see us all admiring it so much.

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Postby setait » Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:50 pm

I didn't realise that this work was done outside the 3 Irvine (aka Loudon) Valley towns of Galston, Newmilns and Darvel.

Looks like they had home workers as far south as Ayr!, or was this just for the very highly skilled floo'ering?

David


I don't know ... according to Ayrshire and other whitework by Margaret Swain it was invented by the wife of an Ayr cotton agent who taught it to farmers' wives and daughters. From that I'd guess that it started in Ayr and worked outwards though the book doesn't say. My great grandfather was living in St Quivox (next parish to Ayr) when his mum was a floorer in the late 1850s. However the book also says that the 13th Earl of Eglinton's mother was also involved so maybe there were 2 centres. It's one of the subjects on my (evergrowing) list of things to read up on.

Sheena
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Postby Russell » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:05 am

Hi Cathy

I have just read this thread and although it is fascinating it drifted onto Ayrshire Whitework. It is lovely work but I don't think that was the interpretation of the occupation -flourer of webs (spelling quite deliberate!)
When a loom was being set up the warp threads needed to be reinforced to last through the weaving process. Nowadays they would put some synthetic reinforcing fibres in. Back then they had to spin the yarn themselves and warp threads were the same as the weft thread. To give added strength once the warp was in place on the loom it was brushed over with a flour and water paste to give the extra strength needed. Spelling was not a strong point so either spelling might have been used.

It could be either interpretation. I prefer the 'whitework' one but there were different types of out-working being done and my explanation is merely an alternative!

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny
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