The Shetland Hand Knitting Industry 1790-1950: With Special Reference to Shetland Lace

Fryer, Linda Gilmour (1992) The Shetland Hand Knitting Industry 1790-1950: With Special Reference to Shetland Lace. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis traces the development of the Shetland hand knitting industry from 1790 to 1950; the origins and emergence of Shetland lace from c.1840; and, along with the socio-economic consequences of truck, seeks to analyse their contribution to the Shetland economy. As knitting was an exclusively female occupation in Shetland, a brief appraisal of the role of women has been included. Traditionally the Shetland economy depended on crofting to feed the family, fishing to pay the rent, and knitting - a subsistence activity - to supplement the domestic economy. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Shetland knitters relied on trading their knitwear with both the Hanseatic merchants and migrant fishermen, who came to Shetland during the summer to fish in Shetland waters and trade with its people. This knitwear, produced from locally grown wool, consisted of hose, caps and gloves, but mainly hose - hence the generic term 'Shetland hosiery' which refers to all types of Shetland knitting. It was coarse but cheap; and it was the cheapness of these ill-produced goods which was their attraction to itinerant fishermen and merchants. However, the trade disruptions caused by the French Wars at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century, and the introduction of the Salt Tax in 1712, were responsible for the exodus of the Hanseatic merchants and to a lesser extent, the Dutch fishermen. And from around this time, the marketing of hosiery, inter alia, was taken over by Shetland lairds, although knitters still continued to sell hosiery to visiting fishermen during the summer fishing season. By 1790, knitters were selling or bartering their hosiery through 2 main outlets, that is, visiting fishermen and Shetland merchants. The first specialist hosiery merchant set up in business in Len.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Allan Macinnes
Keywords: European history, Textile research, Fashion
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-74690
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 17:08
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 17:08

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