My sister Helen and her family are visiting this weekend. Yesterday we all went to New Lanark (I will seize any opportunity to go to New Lanark!) Helen and I hail from Rochdale, and I think she is as proud as I am to have grown up in the birthplace of international co-operation. There are important links between New Lanark and Rochdale — because of the textile industry, obviously, but also because both places are associated with the pioneering nineteenth-century movements that sought to improve the livelihoods and education of working people.


It was interesting to see that the steam powered machinery at New Lanark comes from Rochdale too.


As well as exploring the history of Utopian Socialism (my kind of day out), there are many other things to enjoy about New Lanark. For example, the wonderful riverside walks by the picturesque Falls of Clyde . . .


. . . it is a great place for kids . . .


. . . and then there is wool . . .






As will be evident from these pictures, my sister is also a knitter of the avid and excitable variety, and I am proud to report that my ten year old niece, Robyn, knits too. While Helen treated herself to the gorgeous heathery yarn (shown above), Robyn was able to buy a kit to knit herself a Harry Potter sweater (just like the one that Mrs Weasley knits for Ron). Robyn will soon be a Rochdale knitting pioneer!

We had a grand day out.


7 thoughts on “pioneers

  1. Months late with this (just found your blog and reading backwards) but was caught by the photo of the page from Cooperative Wholesale. My late aunt worked as secretary in the tiny Vancouver, BC, Canada office of this company for many decades. They shipped cans of salmon and other west coast Canadian goodies off to the UK. Hope you don’t mind if I keep a copy of your photo?

    To make another coincidental connection, though my aunt was born here, her parents were from Leith and her older sister (my mom) was born in Portobello before the family emigrated to Canada. (I believe both those places were not yet swallowed up into Edinburgh back then – nearly 100 years ago now.) Anyway, fun to find you and read your wonderful posts!


  2. I too prefer to use local wool whenever possible but with the international price of wool dropping so shockingly low supporting any farmers who produce good quality wool is a good thing. As a New Zealander (where the threat of the low wool prices is sheep farms converting to unecologically smart over irrigated dairy farming) it seems unfortunate that the New Lanark wool is cheap. But I suppose it is better that people buy it. It is going to be interesting watching the changes in international textiles as petrol becomes more and more expensive… Besides cottage industry luxury wool farms that are blogged about frequently how is the wool industry in Scotland?


  3. I love New Lanark too, their wool is great and really cheap but I was disappointed after making enquiries to learn that they source their fleeces from New Zealand and I think Chile was the other place. Nothing’s perfect, won’t stop me going, I just dream of local sheep that I see around me being used for their wonderful yarn.


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