Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tweed -Specific Weaving

I've been looking at the use of the term 'Tweed' to describe the product of weaving.

There are no census references specifically to 'Tweed' weaving on Harris or Lewis prior to 1891.
The earliest that I've found elsewhere on the mainland is in 1861. The fact that the term originated (possibly due to a mis-transcription) in Scotland is well known.

What interests me is that it only appears on Harris and Lewis some three decades later. In 1889 the Scottish home Industries Association was formed to promote hand-crafted products, rather in the manner of John Ruskin's Arts and Crafts Movement. Perhaps this goes some way to explain the widespread usage of the term 'Tweed' in the census returns for Harris just a couple of years later?

In 1891 & 1901 there were a total of 464 weavers of Tweed on Harris. They were overwhelmingly female. There were 15 weavers of Tweed on Lewis, only 3 of whom were female. This polarisation of Harris weaveresses and Lewis weavers continued through much of the 20th Century but I have yet to discover precisely why.

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