Spinning Stories

Ruth Homan collection, domestic education by cqualmann
January 21, 2009, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Laundry Instructions and tips, Preliminary Research | Tags:

Teresa at the Women’s Library suggests that I have a look at the papers of Ruth Homan, which include photographs of girls in domestic economy and housewifery schools.

These date from circa 1903 and show girls learning pastry making, laundry, folding and ironing and poultice making. There is also a photograph of a class of blind girls learning to iron.

Albums of press cuttings document school board elections date from the 1890s and include fliers and posters “vote thus: Homan, Ruth”


reproduced with kind permission of The Women’s Library



The Papers of Ethel Robson by cqualmann

I’ve been looking at the papers of Ethel Robson, a domestic science mistress, dated 1911. They include laundry demonstration notes such as “Handkerchiefs must be steeped separately from other articles; and salt must be added to the water – 1 tablespoon to 1 quart of water: mucous is soluble in salt solution”.

She also includes line drawings, such as this one (which I have copied) entitled ‘Methods of pegging out handkerchiefs and sheets’


“to peg up, stand back to the wind, and peg the strongest part”

She also documents “General rules for folding undergarments” which are:

1. Show as much of the trimming as possible

2. Arrange the fullness in pleats

3. Press the pleats flatly

Election campaign notes NUWSS – Bethnal Green North by cqualmann
December 11, 2008, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Preliminary Research | Tags: , ,

I requested this box of records to try and start making some links into the area of the East End that I live in. They are handwritten notes answering a series of questions set out by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in preparation for campaigning in the general election(s) of 1910. They include the locations of Factories – the number of men and women employed there, the dinner hour, whether workers come out for dinner and would the owner allow meetings inside.

One of the locations listed “Brush factory, Robinson Road, around 50 girls employed and 50 – 100 Men, dinner hour 1-2pm work finishes at 7.45pm, exits on Robinson Road and Bonner Road” is the building that now house my studio.

The scrapbook of Mrs Spencer Graves by cqualmann
December 9, 2008, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Handkerchiefs, Preliminary Research | Tags: ,

Back in The Women’s library, this scrapbook contains mostly press clippings from 1908 – 1919.

Included is an article from the Daily Telegraph, April 4th 1908 “Five women alone have monuments to them that the visitor to the metropolis or the Londoner himself may see without going out of his way…… the only non-royal is Mrs Siddons in Paddington Green”.

There is also a souvenir Handkerchief/Napkin printed on crepe paper from the Women’s Suffrage March on June 13th 1908, published by Mrs S Burgess at 14 Artillery Lane, Bishopsgate EC4.


Nails and other fasteners by cqualmann
November 20, 2008, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Preliminary Research | Tags: , , ,

On my first visit I also look at ‘All you need to know about basic home repairs’ by R. Miller, 1972. It has some lovely drawings of different types of nails, and what they are for.


Postiche by cqualmann
November 20, 2008, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Preliminary Research | Tags: , ,

One of my first visits to The Women’s Library for this project. I’ve decided to start by browsing the open shelves, and begin by looking at “The art and craft of hairdressing” By Gilbert A. Foan, the secretary of the Hairdressers’ parliamentary committee, dated 1958. There is a detailed section on ‘Postiche’ the adding of hair pieces/work with human hair (including wig making). There are some beautiful diagrams and drawings showing methods for structuring hairpieces, which inspire some of my own drawings.