Ganseys

On a trip up to the North Norfolk coast last weekend, I visited the small but delightful Cromer Museum. Whilst there, I noticed these amazing Fishermen’s jumpers, known as ‘Ganseys’. The knitting was so small and fine, that it’s hard to believe that they were handknit – they looked more like modern machine knitting – and some of the patterns were beautiful. It was fascinating to read about them.

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Here’s a bit of the blurb about them:

“Fishermen traditionally wear a blue woollen jumper called a ‘gansey’, which is a corruption of Guernsey.”

“Ganseys were hand-knitted ‘in-the-round’ using dark blue worsted wool to make a hard-wearing garment. The upper part was decorated with a pattern of purl and plain stitches.”

“Despite great age and years of hard wear the quality of these labours of love shines through.”

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I was also intrigued by these ‘Knitting shields’, though despite the explanation, I can’t quite picture how they would have been used.

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“The shield was tied to the waist or stuck into the waistband of an apron. The right hand needle was inserted into the end. This helped to support the weight of the gansey and steadied the needle.”

The museum also had a great exhibition about the work of Olive Edis, a female photographer around the turn of the 20th century, who also worked a war photographer during the First World War.

All in all, the museum is well worth a visit, and Cromer itself was just glorious!

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3 thoughts on “Ganseys

    • I know, I think Cromer is my favourite beach and we almost always seem to have fabulous weather when we go. I’ll have to check out the Sheringham museum sometime when I’m next up that way.

  1. Lovely place to visit. If you haven’t done so already, try to visit the “Rescue Wooden Boats” Visitor Centre at Stiffkey. Lovely setting as you have the Saltmarsh and lovely little visitor centre. You need to check the times that they are open though. They are run by volunteers. Got my wrists slapped for pronouncing “Stiffkey” as “Stewkey”. Apparently “Stewkey” is how you refer to the cockles and not the place!

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