This week has been very busy but really fun! This week I had two appointments with the National Museum of Scotland for my research.
First on Wednesday I went to the wonderful Scottish Life Archives held at the National Museum on Chambers Street.
After not finding loads of stuff in New Lanark I tried not to get my hopes up but really there was just So Much Stuff.
I was met at 10am by the lovely Elaine who is the Senior Curator of Rural Life for the archives. I’m so glad she suggested I start so early because otherwise I would barely have got anything done!
Although many of the images are digitised the index and organisation of the archive isn’t so it was a case of finding the right codes and then going through each file box one by one to find what I needed. It was so much fun.
At first I was a little overwhelmed and started collecting lists of areas I found interesting but that would necessarily help my research – like the customs and festivities of holidays such as Christmas and Halloween. As the day went on I became more selective but I still didn’t get through everything I wanted.
Like I say I started at 10 and apart from being supplied with cups of tea by Elaine I continued to work until I decided to finish at 5pm. I was so engrossed that despite the suggestion of a break I kind of forgot to have lunch!
The next day it was another trip to Museum archives but this time it was down to the Collection Centre in Granton to view some of the Fashion and Textiles archive. I had been corresponding with Emily, the wonderful assistant curator for European Decorative Arts and she had arranged to bring out some pieces for me to view and examine.
When I arrived and saw all the pieces laid out on the table I was in awe. From a construction stand point I was completely taken with how delicately things were made by hand. How painstaking the detail was but also how strong and hardwearing the pieces were. Although some were extremely worn and damaged many had been cared for so well and repaired so well that they could have been picked and used for probably another 20 years without too much damage.
As it turns out, since a lot of clothing and items are not specifically described as “working class clothing” it was a bit difficult to know exactly how accurate these pieces were in terms of workers, apart from such items as the fish wives outfits (which I think are probably going to take up an entire chapter in my thesis/book). But it has given me a very good jumping off point and I’ve been welcomed back by both Emily and Elaine if I want to see any more items.
Unfortunately, right now I’m only allowed to use any images/photographs I’ve gathered for my own personal research and can’t post them online yet. The plan is to eventually get permission or rights to be able to use them when I’m ready to release the thesis. So no goodies to show you this time but I’m also in touch with a few other organisations so may be able to get some visual stuff online soon!
As for future research, this week I made contact with the Scottish Mining Museum in Gorbridge, to find out more about miners’ dress specifically. I’ve also been back in touch with the curator at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire who is very interested and willing to help with my research!
So good news and good work this week, however to slightly dampen the experience my broken toe is still causing me a bit of bother and since I’ve done so much walking this week I think I need a full weekend of rest to let my feet recover!
And in case you forget the Kickstarter has only 11 days left and it’s only sitting at 5% funded! Please share as much as you can to get the word out and better yet, contribute if you can!
I will be back soon with more news of the research,
See you in the future! ♥