Robert Pool – Champion ‘uploader’!
Vanessa spoke to Robert Pool who has, thus far, uploaded 85 images of objects to the “A History Of The World” website. Take a look at them here:Robert Pool's objects
The Paisley Shawl
Vanessa met up with Dan Coughlan (above) in Assistant Keeper of Textile Design and Technology at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery to look at one of the objects uploaded by museums in BBC Scotland’s patch. The Paisley Pattern (an ancient tear-drop or flower-like design) is well-known. But why Paisley?The Domestic System
This is what Dan told “Making History”:
“The early Paisley shawls were imitations of the Kashmir Shawl – hugely expensive items worn by men and famed for their beauty and the fine quality of the fabric. Their value hinged on two things: the highly-prized fibre that came from the underbelly of a wild Himalayan goat, and the “twill tapestry technique” that combined loom weaving with fine detail by hand. And no wonder the shawls were so expensive – the goats defied all attempts to domesticate them so collecting the fibre took a huge amount of effort and then the Indian handweavers could take 12-18 months to complete a single shawl.
“In the mid eighteenth century, just one Kashmir shawl could cost about the same as a London townhouse! Whereas in India they were worn by the male moghuls, here it was aristocratic women who would proudly show off their new status symbols.
“However, Europeans quickly realised that they could make their own shawls by combining the iconic design with modern western technology and the existing weaving skills already available in a few key places like Edinburgh (where the first recorded shawls were made), Paisley, Paris, Norwich, Vienna and Moscow. Called “Imitation India Shawls”, these hybrid shawls were an instant hit and by 1818 were being sold in Britain for around £20 a piece. With a skilled labour force already in place from its silk weaving industry, Paisley was perfectly positioned to seize the initiative: by 1834 the town was producing a million pounds worth of shawls!”
Lizz Pearson reports on Mary Boundy’s nurses uniform, while Vanessa discussed the importance of fashion in history with Alison Welsh of Manchester Metropolitan University.Nurses' World War II battledress jacket
Guest: Alison Welch
Alison Welsh is Programme Leader and third year tutor for BA (Hons) Fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University.Alison Welsh
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Making History returns to BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 18th May