Working as a Research Historian with the University of Gloucestershire I am currently researching non elite 19th century needlework with a focus on the history of Cheltenham Female Orphan Asylum, a 19th Century institution that produced ladies maids with an exceptional level of needlework. In researching this work, I am exploring how we interpret historic needlework and understand it today.
The culmination of this research will be an exhibition with the Holst Victorian House Museum in Cheltenham using a series of interventions to retell the stories of the women who worked in the house in the 19th Century. The samplers of the orphanage and other historic needlework will be the focus of the exhibition to reveal the working lives of women in the 19th Century.
The exhibition will run from July to December 2023 with a series of public workshops to study the skills of Victorian era needlework.
More of the history of the needlework and the orphanage is discussed in the Haptic and Hue podcast episode 25.