The British and Irish Spinning and Weaving School

It appears that this institution was the likely link between Harris and Herts. and I have uncovered a reference in ‘Womanhood 6’, the publication edited by Ada S Ballin, which states:


‘At the British and Irish Spinning and Weaving School, in New Bond Street, with its branch school at Bushey…’


In 1902 Volume 8 of this publication would refer to:


The stall for Harris goods, superintended by Mrs. Thomas…’


which I think was in regard to an Exhibition of Home Industries that had been held in Scotland and which links Fanny Thomas to the island and to Home Industries/Arts & Crafts almost up to the time of her death and certainly during the period when the School in Bushey was opening & operating.

Although she is not specifically mentioned, the lady ‘on the ground’ in Harris at this time was Mrs S Macdonald, (born in Grantown-on-Spey as Sarah Grant) of Kyles House near ‘Obbe’ and of the Scottish Home Industries Association.
In 1895 this wife of the Farmer and Merchant Roderick had written her piece that appeared in a Scottish Home Industries booklet and was then referred to in the Scott Report of 1914.
(It is this account by Sarah Macdonald’s on the origins of Harris Tweed that has informed most subsequent accounts.)

I am hoping to learn more about the School in Bushey from the Local Studies Centre in the museum there but meanwhile the presence of the Tapestry Weavers in Bushey appears to provide additional evidence regarding the wide range of activities undertaken by the ladies associated with the Home Industries movement and Harris.
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