This page will tell you something about our search for ganseys from the North west coast of England.

Up dated 26th February 2016

The Starting point for what could become the Northwest Gansey Project
 
We got interested in Ganseys while doing volounteer work with the Burscough Heritage Group.
 
There is quite a bit of information in print and on the web about ganseys, but not a lot of it seems to relate to our part of the country.
 
This we think will be a ongoing project but to start with a gansey is a knitted woollen pullover or jumper. traditionally worn by fishermen around the uk.
Generally they were knitted "in the round", on a number of kneedles and a modern myth is that the patterns on the gansey was specific to a particular town or indeed a faimly.
The more you start looking into the history of ganseys the less proof there is of this being the case, as we are sure will become more apparent as we investgate further. 
 
There are lots of recorded and published patterns from fishing ports on the east coast of England and around the coast of Scotland, but up to now we have been unable to find any that are from our coast.
We take the north west of England coast to be from the Dee Estuary to the Solway firth, thus covering a large coast line, with major ports of Liverpool, and former docks at Preston and Barrow, with fishing ports at Fleetwood and Whitehaven, and also includes the shrimping communites of Southport and Morecambe, surley there must have been some specific patterns along this coast?
 
But back to Burscough.
 
Burscough is a small town on the West Lancashire plain about 3 miles north of Ormskirk and 8 miles east of the coastal resort of Southport.
In 1816 the Leeds and Liverpool canal was completed to link these two cities passing through Burscough.
Burscough became one of the main centres of labour to work the boats that were used to carry a large variety of cargo along the canal, including wool between the mills and the ports. 
A lot of the working boat men and faimlies settled in Burscough, and there are still a goodly number of former boatmens cottages around the village.
Bill Forshaw in a Burscough gansey
    Whilst working with the Burscough Heritage group old photos surfacedof boatmen working the barges along the canal wearing Ganseys, and we know of an old one still in exsitance.
The original one of this was apparently knitted by a boatmans wife from Bootle, further along the canal towards Liverpool.
BUT UP TO NOW THIS IS THE ONLY PATTERN WE HAVE FOUND FROM ANYWHERE NEAR THE NORTHWEST COAST.
 
This picture is of Bill Forshaw wearing a "Burscough Gansey" while standing on the stern of a canal barge at Crabtree Lane near Burscough.

 

                                    

 

                                         Sunderland point information

  posted 11.3.15.

 

 

 

 We where told about this image by Max Lindsay, one of  The Wool Boat knit and natter's, and have been in contact with the producers of the calendar, so it is reproduced here with kind permission of the Sunderland Point Community Association.  

 

Information also came with the request to reproduce it from Alan Smith, a resident of Sunderland point and committee member of the community association "the fact that my family for three generations have been involved with fishing on the River Lune and wearing the said Gansey is interesting. This is not the first time I have been asked about information about the Gansey and I remain intrigued with the interest shown. What I find very unfortunate is that my Mother used to knit Ganseys for my father but where the patterns have gone remain a mystery quite possibly when there was no further use for them they were destroyed after all I suppose way back then the last thought would be the interest shown in that garment today, I will remain vigilant and ask questions in all the right places to try and track down a pattern"

 

 More information about sunderland point can be found on Sunderland point website .

 Leeds and Liverpool boatmen wearing ganseys posted 27.2.15.

The picture below came up recently on a Images of  Burscough facebook group and we have reposted it on here with permmision of Susan Burroughs.

All four of the chaps seem to be wearing ganseys.

 

Steam tug 40 on the L and L 

Hi This is a photo my dad found while looking at some old family pictures. My great grandad Wiliam Gregson is on the far right of the picture. My dad who is now in his mid 80's doesn't know the names of the other men or if this picture was taken before he married my great grandma Martha. They lived in Daisy Lane and raised 5 girls and one boy, the eldest girl Jane was my grandma... If anyone can name the other three men on the barge it would make my dads day.

If any one has any info that we can pass on to Susan we will gladly do so.

 

Original question from Cath, aka Wiwaxia post on Ravelry on 26.1.16

Can you outline the evidence of gansey's across the inland waterways and canals please?

Hmm...Where to start?

We got interested through our membership and work with The Burscough Heritage Group where photographs from local people surfaced showing working boatmen on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal wearing ganseys.

Some we have reproduced on our website

A chap called Mike Clarke who has written a history of the Leeds and Liverpool canal has recorded details of a gansey that was knitted by a lady in Bootle, near Liverpool for a canal boatman. The actual gansey was at one time in the waterways museum in Gloucester He is chairman of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal society who's members magazine is titled "Clogs and Ganseys" link to L and L canal society link to L and L society

A lot of what we have found out is from looking through old photographs in books about canals, which of course are mainly concerning boats, locks, water, cargoes etc, without real mention of the clothes, so it's with luck we'll find anything.

There was a fairly famous old, in canal terms boatman called Frank Skinner who with his wife worked one of the last horse drawn narrow boats on the oxford canal, the boat being named "Friendship" Part of the boat, the back cabin, they lived in is now preserved and displayed at the Ellsemere Port Waterways museum, and there is a picture of Frank wearing a Gansey that is fairly well published. Link to Face Book

Last year, 2015 Sarah Henshaw of the magazine Waterways World came and visited us to talk Ganseys and produce a article about ganseys for the June 2015 edition of the magazine in which is reproduced a photo of a boatman on the Tinsley canal in Sheffield wearing a gansey.

This article prompted some correspondence in the magazine and it was recollected that the Brades three locks on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, near Sandwell and Dudley were known locally as the ganseys locks, as it was always cold there so the boatmen had to put on their ganseys.

Basically it's just a case of keeping our eyes out, and seeing what we discover, and then finding out if we can reproduce it and spread the knowledge of ganseys being worn on quite a few boats that have navigated the canals and inland waterways of the country.

Maybe we should be setting up a "Ganseys of the canals and inland waterways of the uk" page as well?, oh for the time....

Hope this helps and if anyone has any photos or information that they have and are happy to share please feel free to get in touch.

Can you outline the evidence of gansey's across the inland waterways and canals please ?

Was a question we where asked by Cath, aka Wiwaxia on a post on a Ganseys group on Ravelry on 26.1.16 

 So we have tried to answer this...

Hmm...Where to start?

We got interested through our membership and work with The Burscough Heritage Group where photographs from local people surfaced showing working boatmen on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal wearing ganseys.

Some we have reproduced on our website

A chap called Mike Clarke who has written a history of the Leeds and Liverpool canal has recorded details of a gansey that was knitted by a lady in Bootle, near Liverpool for a canal boatman. The actual gansey was at one time in the waterways museum in Gloucester He is chairman of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal society who's members magazine is titled "Clogs and Ganseys" link to L and L canal society.

A lot of what we have found out is from looking through old photographs in books about canals, which of course are mainly concerning boats, locks, water, cargoes etc, without real mention of the clothes, so it's with luck we'll find anything.

There was a fairly famous old, in canal terms boatman called Joe Skinner who with his wife worked one of the last horse drawn narrow boats on the oxford canal, the boat being named "Friendship" Part of the boat, the back cabin, they lived in is now preserved and displayed at the Ellsemere Port Waterways museum, and there is a picture of Joe wearing a Gansey that is fairly well published.

Joe skinner from Facebook

 

Last year, 2015 Sarah Henshaw of the magazine Waterways World came and visited us to talk Ganseys and produce a article about ganseys for the June 2015 edition of the magazine in which is reproduced a photo of a boatman on the Tinsley canal in Sheffield wearing a gansey.see below.

This article prompted some correspondence in the magazine and it was recollected that the Brades three locks on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, near Sandwell and Dudley were known locally as the ganseys locks, as it was always cold there so the boatmen had to put on their ganseys.

Basically it's just a case of keeping our eyes out, and seeing what we discover, and then finding out if we can reproduce it and spread the knowledge of ganseys being worn on quite a few boats that have navigated the canals and inland waterways of the country.

Maybe we should be setting up a "Ganseys of the canals and inland waterways of the uk" page as well?, oh for the time....

Hope this helps and if anyone has any photos or information that they have and are happy to share please feel free to get in touch.

 

 

Last year, 2015 Sarah Henshaw of the magazine Waterways World came and visited us to talk gansey's and produce a article about gansey's for the June 2015 edition of the magazine in which is reproduced a photo of a boatman on the Tinsley canal in Sheffield wearing a gansey. this is a photo of the article,

Waterways world article

 

  and here is the article, on page 16 and 17 of the magazine, page 4 and 5 of the download, as a file down load,   

If you know of any information about ganseys on the Noerth west coast or the inland waterways of the country we would love to hear from you.
So Carole Wareing of The Wool Boat, reworked the pattern into a form that could be knitted up easily in modern yarns for todays knitters.
 
Links that may be of interest..
 
A article in The Daily Telegraph about "Gurnseys"
 
The Moray Firth Gansey project, with a book, "Fishing For Ganseys"
that is well worth ordering.
 
Kate Schofield, who works as the Lucky Ewe Designs and
creates a "Morecambe" Gansey.