Monday, March 29, 2010
Time Shift - Irish Crochet and Bel Broid Lingerie
Occasionally, as I've said before on this blog, I come across fascinating things in the bottom of boxes of old linen bought at auction. A couple of weeks ago, I unearthed another of these objects which open a whole world of other interesting references, material for yet more novels and short stories (which I can't find enough time to write although I'm working on it!)
This one is a delicate antique nightie, which I think dates from before the 1920s. My first thought was that it might be French, but it has pretty and undeniably Irish crochet inserts on the bodice and on the little sleeves. It is in some ultra fine, soft, light white material which I think may be old fashioned 'cambric' - a simple, long garment, with the most beautiful whitework embroidery. I can't remember when I last saw such a pretty piece of lingerie. There is a tiny blue label sewn in at the bottom hem, which reads 'Bel Broid Lingerie' and this gave me the clue I needed to find its origin. I found the following on a genealogy site:
Rose Gallagher was born about 1877. She died on 24 March 1941. She is buried at Monaghan, Ireland. Rose and her husband Charles had a factory "The Bel-broid" located in Mill Street, Monaghan, which manufactured hand embroidered linens and lingerie. They operated two embroidery factories, one in Monaghan and one just across the border in Northern Ireland.
So this infinitely stylish garment, which had been stored away in some Scottish linen cupboard for heaven knows how many years, originated in a small factory in Monaghan, in Ireland. The writer and historian in me immediately wanted to know more, much more. But that's one piece of research that will have to be filed away for a little while, since I have so much other writing on hand at the moment, including revising about 120,000 words of fiction before the end of April. But all the same, I may go back to this one. Who was Rose Gallagher? Why did she open the factory, and who were the women who worked there? I'd love to know more. So if anyone out there does know more, perhaps they could let me know, via this blog!
Posted by Catherine Czerkawska at 9:59 am