Valley Wives September Report

From Joan Steel
Bucks County Crafts was the subject of an interesting talk by Mrs Janet Dineen who outlined the history of local crafts including chair seating made with caning and reeding, straw work for millinary and the traditional lacemaking. We were shown samples of each craft, with reeding and canning shown on miniture chairs. Mrs Dineen had wonderful hats showing every type of straw plaiting, and told us of the Strawplaiting and Lacemaking schools. Children from 3 years upwards were crowded into small cottage rooms with no heating. They were only allowed to go home when they had finished their work. The conditions were deplorable. Also in Mrs Dineen’s collection were a huge range of lace designs and samples from coarse thread work to very fine highest quality Buckinghamshire Lace. Lace Making was brought to Britain by the Huguenots (about late 17th century) and it spread rapidly in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Pay was very poor and the lacemakers were tied to a dealer who sold them thread, then they had to sell the lace back to him. Conditions changed in 1850 when machine lace came in. Unemployed lacemakers then started making Maltese lace which could not be copied on machine. Many bobbins are needed for lacemaking and they are a craft in themselves, the South Bucks “thumpers” being made in different coloured woods, whereas bobbins made in other areas have beads of different colours. Bone is also used to make bobbins. They are arranged on a large cushion and small pins hold the lace during making. Victorian ladies did tambour beading and in 1910 frogging became popular. We were shown samples of these crafts too which were also very skillful and beautiful. Janet (Clarke) proposed the vote of thanks saying that we would now look more carefully at all the craftwork we see.
On October we have our A.G.M and 46th Anniversary Party. Please bring plates, cutlery and a glass, also a £4 wrapped present.

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