Wednesday 16 May 2012

Sanquhar Museum

While we were in Galloway we went to Sanquhar, which is a small village north of Dumfries.  The Tolbooth museum is a typical local museum with a disparate collection of objects from the local area.  What I was particularly interested in, of course, was the display on Sanquhar gloves.  

(Dumfries and Galloway Museums Service have set up a wonderful on-line display of the Sanquhar knitting in their various collections here  - well worth looking at if you are interested in the Sanquhar designs.)

Since I spend so much of my time working on patterns, magazines, and other publications for the Knitting and Crochet Guild, one thing that particularly interested me at the museum was that the Sanquhar patterns were not published until the 1950s, when People's Friend magazine issued two supplements featuring Sanquhar patterns.  One (which we don't have in the Guild collection) was specifically on Sanquhar knitting - details here.  The other was on Scottish knitting in general, but included a scarf pattern that used one of the traditional Sanquhar designs.   People's Friend is published in Scotland  (part of the D C Thomson empire, based in Dundee)  - presumably at that time, the Sanquhar patterns were more or less unknown outside Scotland.

The museum also showed a Patons & Baldwins pattern leaflet, likewise from the 1950s, for Sanquhar gloves.  The P&B leaflet and one of the People's Friend supplements have the same model on the front cover (at least it looks that way to me), so I surmise that the production of the leaflet and the supplement were somehow linked, but the museum display did not comment on that.
So what happened next?  When and how did Sanquhar gloves get more widely known outside Scotland?  How did they get to be so popular in Japan?       

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