Textiles at the Museum
Sheringham Museum has long held an important collection of historic fishermen's ganseys - sweaters - many of them hand-knitted in the town. The recent bequest to the museum of significant artefacts from the collection of the late Michael Harvey, who was very well known for his research and documentation of craft textile work, has established the museum's collection - now more than forty historic ganseys as well as related objects, accessories, books and other research material - as one of national significance.
Heritage Gansey Knitting Network
Our Textile Team, under the guidamce of Lisa Little (Museum Curator and Manager) and Lesley Lougher (Museum Trustee) has recently completed a scoping project which evaluated the interest and capability of museums across England in establishing a Specialist Subject Network dealing with Fishermen's Knitting (English Ganseys). This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Artfund.
The project identified twenty-nine gansey-related collections of varying size across the country. A Specialist Subject Network will offer many benefits to those collections - improving and standardising documentation, providing research resources, mutual exhibition support, educational opportunities, conservation advice and so on. To assist in the recognition and documentation process the Team developed a diagnostic flowchart (Is this a gansey?), a 'Gansey Glossary' and a recording template, which together make up our 'Textile Toolkit'. The information collected by the use of this toolkit is intended to be loaded into an on-line database. The Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther (Fife) is using the recording template we have developed, so future exchanges of information will be simple.
At the time of writing, a video illustrating this project is in the editing stage. Its production has been hampered Covid-19 enforced restrictions. It will be made available for viewing on this website as soon as possible.
You can view the Diagnostic Flowchart for gansey identification and access the Recording Template by clicking HERE
The Gansey Glossary is rather too big at nineteen pages to display here. However you can open it to view and download a copy to print by clicking HERE. Be patient - it may take a few seconds to download.
The Craske Collection
We also hold an excellent collection of embroidery work by John Craske (1881 - 1943). Born into a Sheringham fishing family, Craske was dogged by ill health throughout his life. He occupied himself when he was incapacitated by painting; in later years when often bed-bound and unable to paint, he embroidered scenes of coastal life and events from his memory. His naive but perceptive style impressed collectors and he achieved international fame in his lifetime.
You can explore some of our interesting knitting accessories by clicking HERE