Stocking Knitters of Harris

I have been intending looking at this occupation but was given additional impetus to do so by some very kind words from a modern-day exponent of the craft:

1851
Christian Campbell, 60, Spinner and Knitter, Scarista, b. Harris

1861
Flora Shaw, 73, Stocking Knitter, East Tarbert, b. Lewis

1871
Marion Kerr, 65, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris
Effy Kerr, 35 Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris
Christy Kerr, 32, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris
Flora Morrison, 14, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b Harris
(This family group are relatives of mine)

Ann McDermid, 60, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris

Margaret Macdonald, 50, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris

Ann Macleod, 40, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b. Harris
Christy Macleod, 19, Stocking Knitter, Strond, b.Harris

Mary Maclean, 60, Stocking Knitter, Borisdale, b. Harris
Ann Maclean, 26, Stocking Knitter, Borisdale, b. Harris

Mary Macdonald, 40, Stocking Knitter, Rodel, b.

Christina MacKillop, 49, Knitter, House at Direcleit, b. Harris
Marion MacKillop, 17, Knitter, House at Direcleit, Visitor, b. Harris

Catherine Macleod, 22, Knitter, House at Direcleit, b. Harris

Effy Kerr, 29, Knitter, House at Direcleit, b. Harris (Another relative)

Ann Macdonald, 37, Knitter, West Tarbert, b. Harris

Christy MacCuspick, 32, Knitter, House at Little Urgha, b. Harris

1881
Catherine Morrison, 65, Spinner and Knitter, Isle of Scalpay, b. Harris

Catherine Mackinnon, 14, Stocking Knitter, Wool Spinner’s House, North Harris, b. Harris

1891 Non Listed
1901 Non Listed

These results demonstrate the strength of the 1871 Census in recording the Occupations of all those present as a key item.

Unless this happened to have coincided with some (so far unknown) reason for a one-off explosion in the knitting activities of the ladies of Harris, I think it is safe to say that all the other censuses simply missed recording the majority of the knitters.

Nevertheless, we have here a good picture of the situation in 1871, a time when there were 11 Stocking Knitters between Strond and Rodel, 4 Knitters at Direcleit and only 2 in North Harris.

It is almost a surprise that ‘Strond Socks’ never got the marketing treatment that gave us Harris Tweed!

Or was that indeed what had been attempted in 1871?…

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