Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Victorian school days
  Sewing lessons for the girls  

Sewing classes were thought to be a very important part of the education of girls in Victorian times. The job prospects for girls were then very limited, and most would become Victorian samplerhousehold servants in the local 'Big House' or work for local farmers or shopkeepers. Employment as servants was called 'going into service'.
Most schools had a part-time 'sewing mistress' and the girls were taught to make up 'samplers'. A sampler was a piece of cloth on which the girls sewed patterns, letters of the alphabet, and simple designs, using different stitches and brightly coloured threads.
This entry from the 1876 Log Book of Crickhowell British School mentions samplers being made by some of the girls -

The sampler shown here was made by a 13 year old girl in 1865. It is one of many Victorian items on display at the Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod Wells
25th April
School diary entry "...Two girls, Rachel Prosser and Bessie Morgan have completed their samplers ; and six others, viz - Alice, Jane, and Evelyn Morgan, Rachel Davies, Agnes Bowcroft and Selina Jones have just begun to work a sampler each".

It was usual for the girls to sew their own names and the date as part of the design, and the Victorian samplers which have survived are now quite valuable. In many cases the original bright colours of the threads have faded, but the children often proved that they were very skilled at needlework.

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