Queen Victoria's Crochet

Contributed by Vale and Downland Museum

Queen Victoria's Crochet

What is the link between Queen Victoria, potatoes and crochet?
In early Victorian Britain, crochet was often regarded as a cheap substitute for traditional hand made lace and as such was not popular amongst the wealthy. Queen Victoria strove to make crochet more fashionable by buying crocheted lace crafted by Irish women striving to eke out a livelihood during the disastrous potato famine which decimated the population of Ireland in the mid 19th Century. The Queen even learned to crochet herself, making eight crocheted scarves as awards for selected veterans of the South African War. These Royal scarves were worn as sashes with great pride.
This particular crocheted "comforter" or scarf was made by Queen Victoria and given to Lady Wantage who presented it to Wantage Hospital. Its pristine condition suggests that it was never actually used, but framed for posterity.

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