Sheringham's famous gansey in focus at museum's symposium

Kenny Holloway, Sheringham Museum director and trustee, with Holt-based knitwear

Kenny Holloway, Sheringham Museum director and trustee, with Holt-based knitwear designer Rita Taylor and Wendy Austin at the Gansey Symposium. - Credit: Supplied by Timothy Groves / Sheringham Museum

People from across East Anglia have come together to celebrate the Sheringham gansey, an item of clothing which has been called world's finest example of knitting.

Around 25 people were at Sheringham Museum for the 2021 Gansey Symposium, which featured a presentation on video by Stella Ruhe, from Holland.

Timothy Groves, a museum director and trustee, said: "Stella told the story behind the ganseys and the tough life of the children who wore them. Boys between the ages of 12-15 went out on the herring luggers and longliners undertaking different roles depending on their age.

Val Smith and Martin Warren at the Gansey Symposium at Sheringham Museum.

Val Smith and Martin Warren at the Gansey Symposium at Sheringham Museum. - Credit: Supplied by Timothy Groves / Sheringham Museum

"Knowledge was passed down through the generations from father to son, whilst working the nets and lines in the 'unpredictable' North Sea." 

Thanks to support from the Art Fund, museum director Lisa Little has designed a gansey recording template which gives a common basis for making a record of different designs

Mr Groves said: "We are looking forward to this exciting, collaborative work moving forward.

"Following the example of the Dutch children’s ganseys the East Anglia Gansey Group are starting to knit examples of children size ganseys based on the museum collection and other East Anglian patterns.

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"As time goes on these will form the content of an exhibition here in Sheringham - a travelling exhibition, and in time, a book."

Guests came from across East Anglia for the Gansey Symposium at Sheringham Museum. 

Guests came from across East Anglia for the Gansey Symposium at Sheringham Museum. - Credit: Supplied by Timothy Groves / Sheringham Museum

Also at the meeting, Martin Warren and Val Smith ran a workshop about the items used in making ganseys. 

Mr Warren said: “the Sheringham Gansey is probably the finest example of knitting in the world," and Mrs Smith demonstrated how knitting was done in the round.

The thinner the needles the denser the gansey, the warmer and more more waterproof it was.

Kenny Holloway, a museum trustee and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, also led a workshop, demonstrating how he knotted the scarves sold in the museum's shop.

Sheringham Museum is now closed for the year having been open for just three days a week for the 2021 season due to Covid.

It will reopen for February half-term and, after a short break, again for the 2022 season every day except Sunday, and will feature a special exhibition called 'I do love to be beside the seaside.'

Mr Groves said: "This will look at the development of beachside holidays in Sheringham."

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