Some friends shared an article with me. It’s about a collection of fabric samples from the eighteenth century left with children at the Foundling Hospital in London. The hospital was opened in 1739. The article looks at the pieces of fabric that were left with the children as a tiny window into the lives of working class women. These were women who felt they had to give up their babies and some left a piece of cloth with the child as means of identification.
“The clothing of elite groups – fashionable merchants’ wives, duchesses with an eye for style – have survived in countless stately homes and museums. You can feast your eyes on silk and velvet, on silver buckles and pearl buttons, but you will search in vain for evidence of what ordinary working people wore to keep themselves dry and more-or-less warm.”
Read the piece about an exhibition of the fabric called Threads of Feeling.