Friday, December 04, 2015

Sepia Saturday 308 : The Lusty Cloth Dressers Of Halifax


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features an illustration from a late Victorian edition of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. There are all sorts of directions I could go with this theme. My Great Grandmother, for example, married a chap called J Robinson Thickpenny; but that is another story altogether and best left until after the watershed.

Daniel Defoe himself would be a useful thread to follow, for the man had a considerable affection for Halifax - the little Yorkshire textile town I will always call home. Defoe was a jobbing-writer of the best sort, turning his hand to anything that would put food on the table (if he had been alive now he would probably have published a blog). During his lifetime, other than the famous Robinson Crusoe, his bestselling work was a book entitled "Tour Thro The Whole Island of Great Britain" which was a lengthy Bill Brysonish travelogue in three volumes. During his tour of Yorkshire, he describes Halifax at the dawn of the industrial revolution at some length.

"...and so nearer we came to Halifax, we found the houses thicker and the villages greater...if we knocked at the door of any of the master manufacturers we presently saw a house full of lusty fellows, some at the dye vat, some dressing the cloth, some in the loom. .... those people all full of business; not a beggar, not an idle person to be seen, except here and there an alms-house, where people antient, decrepid, and past labour, might perhaps be found; for it is observable, that the people here, however laborious, generally live to a great age, a certain testimony to the goodness and wholesomness of the country, which is, without doubt, as healthy as any part of England." (Daniel Defoe, 1726).

But it is a thread nearer the hearts of Sepians everywhere that I have decided to follow - choosing to feature another icon with a dog on the sands in my main photograph. The icon will need no introduction to committed Sepians - it is Auntie Miriam herself, the pin-up girl of Sepia Saturday. I like to think that the elderly lady standing with her is Athena, the Greek Goddess of digital imaging, and that the dog playfully wandering in the background carries the spirit of my own dear Amydog (this is unlikely as Amy disliked the sand with an intensity that matched her love of boiled ham).

So once again, Sepia Saturday takes me on the kind of ridiculous journey which makes life interesting. Far from being deserted, my island is full of characters : my great grandmother and her husband; the lusty cloth dresssers of Halifax, Amydog picking the sand from her paws and, of course, the iconic Auntie Miriam.

FIND OUT WHO INHABITS THE DESERT ISLANDS OF OTHER SEPIA SATURDAY PARTICIPANTS BY VISITING THE SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG AND FOLLOWING THE LINKS

16 comments:

  1. Wonderful Alan. I really enjoyed all the connections you made. Athena doesn’t look very goddess-like though; she obviously had a hard life. Do you think in those days we would have been the antient and decrepid ones?

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  2. I have a feeling that it was more likely that the Greek Goddesses resembled characters from The Last Of The Summers Wine rather than pre-Raphaelite beauties. I love the idea of being antient and decrepid (although they do sound like the pair who introduced I'm A Celebrity)

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  3. Had to look up 'antient', it's such an old word:-) Your grandparents are mentioned but aren't in the photo, just Aunty Miriam and her friend, have I got that right?

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  4. So-- if Aunt Miriam lived in Halifax when are we going to see a photo of her doing the tango ? As you said we all have a soft spot for Aunt Miriam.

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  5. For some reason or another Aunt Miriam here reminds me of Bessie Braddock if I'm allowed to compare a Yorkshire lass with one from Lancashire. Great quote from Defoe (I wonder if I can find that book on Project Gutenberg.)

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  6. I'm with Amydog (RIP) I don't like sand either. And I am rather fond of boiled ham (but not parsley sauce). Sensible choices.
    If I have to be on a beach I'll take rocks and rock pools any day thanks very much. But I can't see Auntie Miriam and Athena paddling along with me. Do you suppose they ever took their shoes off on the beach?

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    1. I am sure I have a photo of her somewhere paddling (and boundforoz) I think I have one of her dancing too. I must search them out and scan them.

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  7. Daily I feel more ancient and decriped. Fighting hard though.

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  8. Wonderful to see how Sepians expand on a theme! I love boiled ham as well!!

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  9. Defoe's guidebook sounds like a perfect armchair stroll through time. I'll try to find it for winter reading.
    Of your two goddesses, I'd place bets on Auntie Miriam's super powers over Athena's.

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  10. Sand does find its way into every nook and cranny. I'm always amazed at how much sand tracks home with us when we leave the beach!

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  11. Yes I feel that he would definitely have been a blogger!

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  12. What an entertaining post! What makes Halifax cloth "lusty"? I look forward to hearing more about J. Robinson Thickpenny.

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  13. I'm with ScotSue. I can't get past the name J. Robinson Thickpenny. What a fabulous name!

    And I'd like to think both dogs in the snapshot had a good time digging in the sand, flinging a sandstorm through their hind legs.

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  14. I enjoyed this post and thank for sharing about your dog's dislike for sand. I now know I don't have the only dog that hates the sand.

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  15. I didn't realize that Defoe had written something besides the famous Robinson Crusoe. I wonder if I can find a copy.

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