Tuesday, 27 February 2007
my great-grandmother, Sarah Thomas
This is a tinted photograph of Sarah Thomas, taken around the time of her wedding, in 1899.
She lived all her life in Maesteg, a mining village in South Wales. She was a gifted needlewoman, who, like a number of other women in Maesteg at the time, made quilts for sale. At the time of her death, in 1919 at the age of 43 (she succumbed to lung disease as a result of breathing in coal-dust all her life) the deeds of the house were found in a box under the bed: she had saved the money from her earnings from quilting and what she had saved from the housekeeping money.
My grandmother, Gwyneth Thomas, was apprenticed as a tailoress and milliner. She refused to learn to quilt because she did not want to be exploited.