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Some Special Interests => Occupation Interests => Topic started by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 07 January 07 10:52 GMT (UK)

Title: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 07 January 07 10:52 GMT (UK)
I have Levitt ancestors who were a familiy of tailors from around 1800 to 1900. They moved aound the country a lot and often seem to share housing with other tailoring people.

I'm intrigued by the extent of their movements and would like to understand more about their lifestyle.
Does anyone know of any info on the industry during the 19th century?

Thanks
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Dave Francis on Sunday 07 January 07 11:26 GMT (UK)
Hi Bev

I would heartily recommend that you get hold of a copy of "Consuming Passions" by Judith Flanders. It's a new book but your library may have a copy by now.

Chapter 2 includes a description of clothing manufacture in precisely the period you are looking at.

Dave
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 07 January 07 20:59 GMT (UK)
Hi Dave,

Thanks for this - I'll check it out. In the past my local library have been pretty good at getting books to order.

Thanks
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: meles on Sunday 07 January 07 21:10 GMT (UK)
I have three generations of tailors in my family. They were also all in the local militia (Norfolk). I wonder if they made uniforms.

The last one moved to London - close to some Barracks - but then his son became a fishmonger. 

I have no clue how they lived their lives. Would be interesting to find out.

meles

Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 07 January 07 23:52 GMT (UK)
What's intriguing about my tailoring ancestors is how much they moved around.

The female line seems to originate from Durham then moves to Yorkshire and they are a tailoring family. The male line is from Middlesex. The first tailor in this line appears in 1838.
As a couple, complete with the usual impressive array of kids, they then move around various parts of Middlesex, interspersed with a couple of sojourns into Yorkshire (Leeds and Bradford).

Whilst there are obvious family connections in Middlesex and Yorkshire, there still seems a disproportionate amount of movement given the relative difficuty in getting around.

I suppose I'm just wondering whether the extent of their movement was typical of those in their trade (maybe business demanded mobility in some way).
Another thought is whether,with a name like Levitt, there are any Jewish connections and maybe this could explain their movement in some way.

In any case, the prospect of moving, presumably with all your worldly possessions packed in a trunk, and with an army of kids, from one end of the country to the other in the mid 19th century feels like quite a challenge. How did they do that? How long would it have taken? What did they do for food and/or toilet stops en route?? How much would it all have cost them?

So many questions - any material that explains how these people lived their lives would be interesting.

Cheers
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Monday 08 January 07 01:07 GMT (UK)
My ggg paternal grandfather was a tailor (and draper) in Liverpool from the 1820s to 1852 when the family left for America. The name of his shop was "The Sign of the Golden Fleece" and was located on St. James street. One of his sons opened a tailor shop in Massachusetts.

They didn't seem to move around though.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Monday 08 January 07 05:44 GMT (UK)
You're right that Levitt is often a Jewish name - in my limited experience, always.  Tailoring was, and still is, a very common occupation among Jewish families.  I'm guessing yours may have been itinerant because they went where they could get work. 
Any book dealing with the east end of London in the 19th C social history should have some mention of them.
When they shared housing, did the other people have possible Jewish names as well?  It would be common to live with other Jewish families.
Do you know their origins prior to this period?

http://www.art.man.ac.uk/RELTHEOL/JEWISH/EXHIBITION/1tailoring.html

http://www.movinghere.org.uk/stories/story360/story360.htm?identifier=stories/story360/story360.htm

http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/t7.asp

http://www.politics.qmul.ac.uk/staff/kershen/index.html

Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Wednesday 10 January 07 00:37 GMT (UK)
Loo,

Thanks for the links- some interesting stuff.
I haven't noticed a pattern of my Levitts with other Jewish sounding families. But I have noticed that they did seem to congregate amongst other tailors. So I suspect you're right - they went where the work was.
I've no idea where they came from prior to the census entries. But it's on my list to find out ;-)

Thanks again
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 10 January 07 00:46 GMT (UK)
Bev -

You have started an interesting thread. I will periodically check back to see what additional information about the occupation / industry you have discovered.

Again, thanks for starting this interesting thread.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Wednesday 10 January 07 06:12 GMT (UK)
I will post if I find anything particularly interesting.  I am sure there is quite a bit of info to be had on this subject.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 10 January 07 06:37 GMT (UK)
loo -

In agreement that there probably is quite a bit of info on tailors. Look forward to whatever info you may have or find.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Friday 12 January 07 23:51 GMT (UK)
Been googling !!!!

This link http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/archive/00000662/01/Vaughan_2002.pdf is a paper on Jewish immigrant work patterns in Manchester in the 19th Century.
I've only had a quick look but if you search for 'tailor' there are a few interesting snippets/stats around the extent of tailoring as an occupation amongst Jewish immigrants. It does seem to support the view that tailoring was a very common occupation for Jewish immigrants whilst a much lower proportion of non-Jews were tailors. There is also some analysis of household sharing.

It seems that Leeds was another area where tailoring was common. This link (http://www.saperia.com/Pages/history.htm#leeds) has within it a link to a 'Report to the Board of Trade on the Sweating system in Leeds' from 1888.
Again - search for 'tailor' and then scroll down to the next section. I've not read this yet but looks like it might be interesting.

I also found an abstract for a conference session http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in6086/chconf2004.html#fr and search for tailor.
I have emailed the author to request a copy of the report.

I'll keep looking
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Saturday 13 January 07 10:32 GMT (UK)
I am interested in Jewish migration, but I don't really have much in the way of tailors in my lot, and the only one I have is not, to my knowledge, Jewish (William Henry CANDY, b.Middlesex about 1770.  I  know nothing about his tailoring life, or for how long he did it.  At some unknown time between 1809 and 1841, he moved from Deptford to Reading, and seems to have become a postman there in his 70s!
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: PaulaToo on Saturday 13 January 07 12:18 GMT (UK)
And here is another one who has found this thread interesting...
I have a Welsh Grandfather who was a tailor.
I have often wondered why he made the trip from Pembroke Dock to Reading in Berkshire. It seems a long way to go in the 1880s.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Sunday 14 January 07 07:12 GMT (UK)
Been googling !!!!

I also found an abstract for a conference session http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in6086/chconf2004.html#fr and search for tailor.
I have emailed the author to request a copy of the report.

I'll keep looking
Bev


Thanks for all your effort. Look forward to the report ... if you receive.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Sunday 14 January 07 09:51 GMT (UK)


I also found an abstract for a conference session http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in6086/chconf2004.html#fr and search for tailor.
I have emailed the author to request a copy of the report.


I got "this page cannot be displayed".  Was this temporary, or did other people get through?
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: DJFRENCH on Sunday 14 January 07 10:25 GMT (UK)
Morning, i'd be really interested in Tailors life and work. Have many in family in Oxford. Town and gown stuff. I can't pick up link at the moment because i'm doing this thru my mobile phone but will look tomorrow.
DJ
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: PaulaToo on Sunday 14 January 07 10:57 GMT (UK)
I don't know anything about the lives and working ways of tailors, except that my mother told me at the beginning of the 1900s, her father, a journeyman tailor, used to sit cross legged on the table to do his sewing. Also she used to boast that he never developed a tailors stoop (I saw a lot of round shoulders when I worked in  the trade) but kept a straight back to the day he died.
I always had, 'Put your shoulders back, you'll never be like your Grandfather!' thrown at me when I was at home. ::)
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 14 January 07 11:03 GMT (UK)
Loo,

I just tried again to follow the link to that abstract and I can't get through either.
The site is the University of Wolverhampton and I can't even get the their home page - so they must just be having some problems with their servers at the moment.

I have had a response from the author and she has said she will send it provided I reference her work in any of my publications. Given my lack of experience in etiquette regarding academic publications, I am reluctant to put even the abstract up here without checking first.
I'll ask her whether she's ok for me to post the abstract.

Cheers
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: aghadowey on Sunday 14 January 07 13:53 GMT (UK)
My father-in-law, born 1912, remembered neighbours who were tailors sitting crosslegged on the floor.
About 15 years ago I took 2 bin bags of old quilts which I found in a trunk in the 'junk' room when I moved into the family house to be examined by a textile expert from museum. Most of them cotton peices and fairly typical except for one made from woollen patches. Expert asked if there were any tailors in the family as it was made from scraps of 'suit material.' After I got home my father-in-law said his mother and aunts would have gotten scraps from the neighbours!
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: KathMc on Sunday 14 January 07 14:10 GMT (UK)
This is a great thread. My husband and I both have tailors in our family. Mine originated in Alsace and then moved on to western New York. My husband's come from Russia and then NYC (the Jewish side). All very fascinating. I am looking forward to learning more.

Kath
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: DJFRENCH on Monday 15 January 07 13:33 GMT (UK)
My family of tailors worked in Oxford from 1830  for several decades and helped to make gowns and all the other diverse types of garments needed for a University town. The patron saint of Tailors in Oxford was john the Baptist but there are many more. They held great celebrations in their workshops on the night of 24th June .
There were 126,137 tailors in  1841 , 6,347 were women .

Going to checked out the site links now.
DJ
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Tuesday 16 January 07 07:09 GMT (UK)

I also found an abstract for a conference session http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in6086/chconf2004.html#fr and search for tailor.
I have emailed the author to request a copy of the report.

I'll keep looking
Bev


I couldn't get into the site either.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Tuesday 16 January 07 20:33 GMT (UK)
I've tried that link again tonight and it seems to be working now.
It's going to be such a let down when you finally get in because all you see is the abstract.  :(

 I've not heard back from the author yet. Will let you know when I do.

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 17 January 07 01:39 GMT (UK)
Bev -

thanks again for all your work and effort on this thread. Very much appreciated.

Just tried the site again and couldn't get in. Will keep trying though.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Wednesday 17 January 07 09:44 GMT (UK)
Bev, I finally got through.
This is an extremely interesting page, at least to me, and I think it would be to anyone who had 18th/19thc ancestors in the "rag trade" at any level.  Do let us know when you get more info.
Ta.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Eilleen on Wednesday 17 January 07 12:22 GMT (UK)
My Exton family were tailors first rural in Rutland then to Stamford and then Lincoln, Lincolnshire, the sitting on a table near the window to work has always fascinated me, I am now going in search of an article someone sent me  about tailors. Eilleen
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Eilleen on Wednesday 17 January 07 12:24 GMT (UK)
 How they worked.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: JK on Wednesday 17 January 07 13:04 GMT (UK)
One of my Grt Grt Grandfathers was employed as a tailor at the huge St Pancras workhouse, I have long thought what a tireless and somewhat depressing job this must have been. I imagine his days would have been filled stitching uniforms and mending sheets and I don't think the surroundings were too beautiful, bet he felt happy to return home each night even if he lived in a humble dwelling. Would love to know what really went on within those great walls  :(.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Wednesday 17 January 07 22:06 GMT (UK)
And yet more links ... As always, if it's not immediately obvious, search for 'tailor' once you get to the page.

http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/haynin/haynin1012.htm is about Scotland but looks interesting nevertheless.

http://www.movinghere.org.uk/galleries/histories/jewish/working_lives/working_lives.htm

A brief essay on Jews in 19C Britain ...http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/deronda/ei_judaism.html

American site but great reconstruction stuff here. Also, look at the multimedia link on the right hand side of this page and look
for the tailor slide show ....
 Long URL to google.images  (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.history.org/Almanack/life/trades/images/tailor_3x_sm.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.history.org/Almanack/life/trades/tradetai.cfm&h=299&w=200&sz=12&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=TiSgRZdgPfNH8M:&tbnh=116&tbnw=78&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtailor%2B%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26rls%3DSUNA,SUNA:2006-19,SUNA:en)

Another image link ...
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/core/pics/0253/img0057.jpg

Even in the 1920s and 30s theysat cross legged ...
 long URL to redhill-reigate-history site  (http://www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk/phil%20tailors%20shop%201920-30s.JPG)

And even a Russian folk tale about a tailor ...
 another long URL to google.images  (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.healingstory.org/treasure/just_enough/tailor.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.healingstory.org/treasure/just_enough/just_enough.html&h=284&w=320&sz=31&hl=en&start=9&tbnid=aVtKf9-oZK6bIM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=118&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtailor%2B%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26rls%3DSUNA,SUNA:2006-19,SUNA:en)

Cheers
Bev


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Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Wednesday 17 January 07 22:16 GMT (UK)
But ....

I've still not found out why they sat cross legged on the floor or table  ???

Any ideas ?

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 17 January 07 22:39 GMT (UK)
I've tried that link again tonight and it seems to be working now.
It's going to be such a let down when you finally get in because all you see is the abstract. :(

 I've not heard back from the author yet. Will let you know when I do.

Bev


Finally got in to the "abstract" site this morning. Looking forward to visiting the additional links you posted earlier.

I have no idea as to why they sat cross legged.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: PaulaToo on Thursday 18 January 07 00:08 GMT (UK)
Probably made a cradle for heavy garments....
It is a comfortable position to sit in when sewing ...personal experience...
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Friday 19 January 07 01:31 GMT (UK)
PaulaToo -

I never considered / thought about comfort but you do make an excellent point.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: KathMc on Friday 19 January 07 09:35 GMT (UK)
It can be pretty uncomfortable when you move though. Bending your back like that for a long period of time. Yikes.

Kath
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Elizabeth Revel on Friday 19 January 07 10:25 GMT (UK)

Interesting that no one has mentioned "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter, a children's Christmas story book.

On reading that book one might draw the conclusion that tailoring was not a lucrative occupation.

Beth
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Saturday 20 January 07 00:30 GMT (UK)
Beth,

It's a long time since I read Beatrix Potter so I can't remember the story.
But I don't think tailoring was that lucrative - if the sweat shops were anything to go by.


Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Saturday 20 January 07 00:55 GMT (UK)
Beth,

What a coincidence  :o

I've just read the Report on the Sweating System in Leeds from the link I posted on 12/1 on this thread.

And there is mention of a Beatrice Potter giving evidence to the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Sweating System.

But, she's not the same person as Beatrix Potter !

Here's a couple of links to explain ...
http://www.heliograph.com/trmgs/trmgs4/bea1.shtml
http://www.heliograph.com/trmgs/trmgs4/bea2.shtml

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: griz on Saturday 20 January 07 05:00 GMT (UK)
This a most interesting thread. I also have a tailor in one of my branches living in London. He did not seem to travel though. One person mentioned  a tailor who went to Berkshire. I wonder it was to go to Windsor? Perhaps  military uniforms and household liveries? I wonder if they went on spec?  a risky venture I would think, or perhaps  they knew work was going to be available.   

One of the most detailed records of life in the 1800's in London was written by Henry Mayhew who lived 1812 - 1887. He wrote a fascinating sociological study of the lives of the poor.  'London labour and the London Poor"  It is quite a lot of material to read, and comes in 4 volumes. I have two of them (one and two) I hope to get three and four one day. It is illustrated with engravings said to be from Deguerrotypes  by Beard.

Darn! the 'tailor' section must be in one of the others.  (Athough perhaps a tailor is not considered poor.) Perhaps if you have access to this work in your library you could check the index for tailors.

This book deals with people struggling to survive day by day. It is an amazing work and it is heartbreaking too. It is full of  incredible detail.   There is a section on the Jewish inhabitants of London. It was written in the 19th C so the way the words are used is rather grating to say the least but I think Mayhew was also trying to be fair and matter-of-fact for a man of his time.   Also there is a section of the Irish immigrants who came to London. 
 It is said that Charles Dickens  may have got some ideas for  his characters, and/or ideas for stories from this book. ie pickpockets, matchgirls. etc  :)

The work is probably available in libraries. I have the the Dover Edition  N.Y. Complete and unabridged.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Pegasuss on Saturday 20 January 07 05:40 GMT (UK)
I have a Few Tailors In My Tree!

One came over from Prussea @1849, and settled (for a time) in Manchester were He worked as a Patern-Cutter for a 'Diving-Dress Maker'!

He cut out the pieces that when sewed together made up the Suit worn by Divers!

The Cloth was (usually) made from Canvas that had been treated (with Gutta Percha) to make it Waterproof!

My Ancestor later moved to Liverpool, where He carried on working for the same Firm (Followed by at least one of His Sons)!

The Firm was 'Hellewells', remembered in an Old Liverpool Saying: "Go To Hellewells" (said to someone who was Looking to Buy something, But Did'nt Know Where to Look!).

They Also (Famously) made Makintosh Raincoats!
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Saturday 20 January 07 06:00 GMT (UK)
Beth,

It's a long time since I read Beatrix Potter so I can't remember the story.
But I don't think tailoring was that lucrative - if the sweat shops were anything to go by.


Bev

Agree with you that tailoring was not that lucrative back then and probably remains so today.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Pegasuss on Saturday 20 January 07 06:19 GMT (UK)
Beth,

It's a long time since I read Beatrix Potter so I can't remember the story.
But I don't think tailoring was that lucrative - if the sweat shops were anything to go by.


Bev

Agree with you that tailoring was not that lucrative back then and probably remains so today.

yn9man

The Ancestor I mentioned was Widowed in 1865 (being left to care for 4 Children on His own), He worked almost till He Died in 1889 (aged 72Yrs)!

The Son that worked with Him Owned/Rented a number of  Newsagents & Tobaconists & Hairdressers (1 or 2 at a time)by the time He was in his 20's (His Eldest son [My Grandfather] used to make 'Pocket Money' from the age of @8Yrs old, sitting in the doorway of one of the shops repairing Umbrellas, 1p a Spoke).
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: chrissy on Saturday 20 January 07 06:52 GMT (UK)
hello everyone ;D
  Over the course of the last week,Ive found out that I too,have a Tailor" in my tree.His name was James Davidson,and he was in Dunoon in Argyll,circa 1861-81.I wonder would anyone have ideas on Tailoring?,in that part of scotland.I have been unable to find a workplace or such.
        have a great day......cheers from chrissy.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Pels. on Saturday 20 January 07 08:03 GMT (UK)

My maternal grandfather was a Master Tailor, owning his own business during the years following the 1914 - 1918 war.

Post war Europe was in chaos and a return to the Empire days of before simply did
not happen. The industries of ship building, coal and textiles never recovered from
the slump they were in at the end of the 1920's.

His well heeled clients could no longer afford to buy the tailored suits they had once taken for granted.

Unable to face the shame of bankruptcy and as a consequence he committed suicide in 1928 ..  ..  my mother was only two years old.


Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: XPhile2868 on Saturday 20 January 07 22:14 GMT (UK)
My 4x great grandfather was a Banister from Leyland who was part of a long line of tailors. My great aunt attributes her sewing skills to him and his predecessors.


Stephen :)
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: PaulaToo on Saturday 20 January 07 23:04 GMT (UK)
It does tend to get handed down the family, Stephen.
Grandfather William Stephens Mathias was a tailor, Mother was a tailoress, I was a tailoress....tailors chalk in the blood, not coal dust.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: sallysmum on Monday 22 January 07 17:35 GMT (UK)
But ....

I've still not found out why they sat cross legged on the floor or table  ???

Any ideas ?

Bev

Afraid I don't know why they sat cross legged, but the practice did give it's name to a foot deformity - tailors bunion.  We normally think of bunions being the distortion of the joint around the big toe joint.  A tailors bunion is the distortion of the small toe joint - caused by the pressure of the foot sitting crossed legged on the floor!

Sallysmum

I also have a master tailor in my family - I like to think that this is where I have inherited my dress making skills!
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: DebbieG on Monday 22 January 07 18:22 GMT (UK)
Hi - I have several tailors & dressmakers on both sides of my family (and yes I earn my living in a similar way) the earliest - James Payton born 1777, was a tailor and umbrella maker, his son James Horwood Payton was a tailor and innkeeper, it seems that tailoring alone was difficult to make a living at. 
On a historical note I  believe that tailors sat crosslegged on tables, not the floor,  the reason being that in the past windows were quite small and to get the best light the table was pushed up to the window and the tailor sat on it - the most comfortable way to sit on a table in this fashion is cross legged - I am not sure where I got this from I just seem to have always known it !

Debbie

Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Monday 22 January 07 22:51 GMT (UK)
Interesting about the tailor's bunion Sallysmum - but a little unpleasant especially given how infrequently they would have washed their feet and clothes  ::)

Debbie - I'd never thought of the lighting situation so it makes sense that they would have pushed the table to the window.
I guess windows must also have been relatively high and therefore sitting on a chair sat at the table under the window wasn't so effective. I wonder how often they cleaned the windows  ???

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: PaulaToo on Tuesday 23 January 07 00:19 GMT (UK)
There isn't much room for your arms to work if you have a big heavy garment on a table and are sitting down. I found it's better standing, or having it in your lap.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Pegasuss on Tuesday 23 January 07 04:41 GMT (UK)
There isn't much room for your arms to work if you have a big heavy garment on a table and are sitting down. I found it's better standing, or having it in your lap.


So Did My Mother! (when making Dresses for My Sisters & others) ;)
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Tuesday 23 January 07 17:47 GMT (UK)

Afraid I don't know why they sat cross legged, but the practice did give it's name to a foot deformity - tailors bunion. We normally think of bunions being the distortion of the joint around the big toe joint. A tailors bunion is the distortion of the small toe joint - caused by the pressure of the foot sitting crossed legged on the floor!

Sallysmum


Interesting item about the tailor's bunion. Must have been quite painful or at least uncomfortable. 

As of now, I can only find two tailors in my family. Thats probably why I can't sew. I know blame it on the relatives ...

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: KathMc on Tuesday 23 January 07 19:31 GMT (UK)
I am going to have to ask my one relative what he knows about the daily life of our shared tailor ancestor. It has been so fascinating reading through all of this. I have one picture of him (my ggg grandfather) and he looks so...I don't know. I just can't see him sitting crossed-legged on a table. That's a picture I would love.

Kath
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Tuesday 23 January 07 20:49 GMT (UK)
Bev -

Who knew when this thread started how interesting it would become. Thanks again for starting. Fascinating to read and interesting stories by fellow Rootschatters.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: meles on Tuesday 23 January 07 20:59 GMT (UK)
Indeed. I had no idea. My ancestor worked, I suspect, for the Army. I wonder if he helped himself to the odd batch of material....? Surely not?

meles
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: jeanhemm on Tuesday 23 January 07 21:19 GMT (UK)
Occupations passed from father to son - first son tailor - second son shoemaker -  third son tailor -many of them passed down the line in East Anglia - pity about my 2nd gt grandfather - his father was a tailor but he became a shoemaker as hhis father died when very young.  Although he married twice and both his eldest daughters from both relationships became slipper binders - he had four daughters from the second marriage and they all became dressmakers/thimble workers.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: sallysmum on Tuesday 23 January 07 21:35 GMT (UK)
Occupations passed from father to son - first son tailor - second son shoemaker -  third son tailor -

Where does this come from?  Reason I ask, 2xGt grandfather James was the tailor, his elder brother a shoemaker.  There are older brothers in the family (would you believe, I'm going to research them tomorrow so don't know if they survived).  James started out as a shoemaker but then swapped to be a tailor.  Just wondered where this progression of professions originated.

Gosh from a simple posting one learns alsorts!

Sallysmum
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: meles on Tuesday 23 January 07 21:47 GMT (UK)
My lot:

Dad - Ag Lab (surprise, surprise!)
Son - Tailor
GSon - Tailor
GGSon - Fishmonger!

There you go!

meles
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Pels. on Tuesday 23 January 07 21:49 GMT (UK)



I didn't know you sold fish meles?  :P
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: meles on Tuesday 23 January 07 22:02 GMT (UK)
For the sake of completion, Pels:

GGGson - clerk
GGGGson - health & safety manager (and no jokes please - I've heard them all)

meles
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Tuesday 23 January 07 22:12 GMT (UK)
yn9man,

I totally agree about the interesting stories from other Rootschatters. All the snippets piece together to build up a mental image of how these people lived and, for me, that's what's so interesting.

As for my rellies, plenty of tailors, a couple of stuff warehouse boys  :-\ but no shoemakers - then one of them became a 'unionist registration agent'   I guess that's another thread altogether   :)

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: sparrett on Tuesday 23 January 07 22:42 GMT (UK)
Hi Bev and friends,Have enjoyed this thread.
Bev, I have a Levitt connection/tailoring connection to share.
My g. grandfather George James Parrett's father Robert was a tailor through many census findings until, like Loo's man [see reply 12]
he changed to installing telegraph lines in later life.  It is interesting to consider if it was a failing eye-sight thing or economic times.
One of Robert's sons entered the boot trade  which supports the above theory which I had never heard of till now.

George James entered a surgical instrument making career.
Now when George  Jas. married for the second time in 1880 it was to
 
EMMA LEVITT DAVIS b.1856 Chippenham Wilt.

She was the daughter of EMMA LEVITT chr.1833 Chipp, Wilt

who was the daughter of SUSANNAH LEVITT [no father mentioned]

Emma, the young new bride was the local Sunday School teacher instructing George James' daughters.

I would love to find out if their was a connetion to tailoring in the Levitt background.
Cheers
Sue
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Tuesday 23 January 07 23:21 GMT (UK)
Hi Sue,

I'm not aware of any of my Levitt's being in Wiltshire - but I have only just started making some progress with them as they have been rather elusive.

I had thought Levitt might be quite unusual as a name outside of specific Jewish areas but I'm not certain of that. And then my Levitts seemed to stay in areas well known for their strong Jewish presence. But I haven't so far been able to prove whether there is any Jewish connection.
It's been on my mind to try and understand the numbers and spread of Levitts to help me identify other potential links.

Might just be coincidence of course, but my dad has Levitt as a forename, presumably because my g.grandfather had only 2 children, both girls, so noone to carry on the family name. Hence, I've always assumed, the eldest grandson got given Levitt as a name.

You've also set me off on another line of thought - my g.grandfather Charles Levitt didn't seem to join the rest of the family in tailoring - and I had wondered why not. I know that in later life he went virtually blind, so now I'm wondering whether his eyes were a problem from his younger years and that's why he didn't join the tailoring trade ??!!

I just love this message board - the links it generates and thoughts it provokes ;D
Only problem is not enough time to follow them all up. Roll on retirement -only 20 years to go  :'(

Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Wednesday 24 January 07 00:49 GMT (UK)
http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/

If you type in the surname Levitt, and select "Name Meanings", you will get info on both the Jewish and non-Jewish origins of the name.
This won't resolve anything for you!, but may provide clues for later on.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: sparrett on Wednesday 24 January 07 01:36 GMT (UK)
Thanks Loo,
I have had LEVETT o some entries, but just poor listening/writing skills I think.
Sue
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Eilleen on Wednesday 24 January 07 11:24 GMT (UK)
A small piece of an article I have says.   The tailor sitting in his window on his table  , saw most of what went on, and vied with the shoe maker as purveyor of local news. His shop was reasonably warm too, as his iron was always heated ready for use. The tailor sat cross - legged on the table for several reasons, to keep his work clean, to have his material at hand, and to lay his pressing board across his knees.  his pressing board was called a donkey, this was for doing seams and sleeves, the iron was called the goose, before the days of gas it was heated on an open fire, or else had its own little charcoal heater.  the article has lots more plus names, but I am worried about crossing the copy right thing.   The article was printed in 1966  and tailors who were in their 80s were interviewed, so first hand imformation, as they say.      Eilleen.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 24 January 07 15:38 GMT (UK)
A small piece of an article I have says. The tailor sitting in his window on his table , saw most of what went on, and vied with the shoe maker as purveyor of local news. His shop was reasonably warm too, as his iron was always heated ready for use. The tailor sat cross - legged on the table for several reasons, to keep his work clean, to have his material at hand, and to lay his pressing board across his knees. his pressing board was called a donkey, this was for doing seams and sleeves, the iron was called the goose, before the days of gas it was heated on an open fire, or else had its own little charcoal heater. the article has lots more plus names, but I am worried about crossing the copy right thing. The article was printed in 1966 and tailors who were in their 80s were interviewed, so first hand imformation, as they say. Eilleen.

Interesting to note the relationship between tailors and shoemakers. My ggg grandfather (a tailor) eldest son was a tailor but later in life turned to shoemaking.

Can you provide us with the title of the article? Do you know if it can be found on the web anywhere?

yn9man

Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Eilleen on Wednesday 24 January 07 15:54 GMT (UK)
The article was in   " Lincolnshire Life " in 1966.    Eilleen.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Wednesday 24 January 07 18:06 GMT (UK)
Eilleen -

Thanks will try and find the article on the web.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Wednesday 24 January 07 23:43 GMT (UK)
Eilleen - thanks for the extract - very interesting.

yn9man - Guess you've found this out already but just in case, I've had a look for the article. The archive on the Lincolnshire Life web site only goes back a couple of years. I have emailed them to ask if it's possible to buy a copy of the article. Will let you know if they get back to me.

Loo - Had a look at the name meanings, thanks - it kind of leaves my Jewish/non-Jewish options open. I think I need to check whether the addresses are in predominantly Jewish areas.

Cheers
Bev
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Thursday 25 January 07 07:16 GMT (UK)
Bev, I was just going through this thread again, and I don't think you told us the forenames of the Levitts.  That might give a big clue as to whether they were Jewish or not.  It wouldn't prove that they weren't, but it might virtually confirm if they were.  If you want to post them or PM them, I will tell you if I think they were.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Thursday 25 January 07 23:26 GMT (UK)
Loo,

The forenames don't sound Jewish to me but then, I'm no expert.

They are :

William b approx 1788 married Ann, both from Westminster, Middlesex with children William (tailor, b1818), Mary(1828), Sarah(1828), Martha(Dressmaker, b1832). Probably more offspring but not found them yet.

Then William (1818) married Ann Faith and had children ...
Jane (tailor, b1840), William(1841),  Ann(tailor, b1847), Mary (tailor, b1849), Martha(domestic, b1851), George (stuff warehouse boy,b1855), Thomas (stuff warehouse boy, b1857), Charles (traveller then unionist registration agent !!, b1859), Betsy (1862)
It is this family that moved around between Yorkshire and Middlesex.

Ann Faith's parents (William and Jane) were both Tailors from Stockton, Durham.

As I said, names don't seem Jewish.
But when I looked at the surname on the link you posted, Levitt is either Jewish (Levy derivative) or English (Leavitt derivative).
But there were not many Leavitt families in England and they showed no tendancy toward being tailors.
Whereas Levit/Levitt/Levy is much more common (especially Levy) and clearly a lot of tailors.

So - the jury is out !
Any ideas much appreciated.
Cheers
Bev 
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: loo on Friday 26 January 07 06:58 GMT (UK)
You're right, these are not distinctively Jewish forenames.  That means that either they were assimilated, or trying to assimilate, OR that they were not Jewish at all.  Big help!  I have the same problem with some of mine!  I hope you find some more clues in your travels...
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: yn9man on Saturday 27 January 07 00:35 GMT (UK)
Eilleen - thanks for the extract - very interesting.

yn9man - Guess you've found this out already but just in case, I've had a look for the article. The archive on the Lincolnshire Life web site only goes back a couple of years. I have emailed them to ask if it's possible to buy a copy of the article. Will let you know if they get back to me.

Bev

Thanks for your response re the web site. I only took a quick look through the Lincolnshire Life web site and planned on getting back in later tonight.

Will wait to hear from you. Thanks again for starting this thread.

yn9man
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Eilleen on Sunday 04 February 07 16:50 GMT (UK)
Program on telly Tues 6th Feb , " you don't know your born " about tailors.   Eilleen.
Title: Re: Tailors - How did they live and work?
Post by: Bev Duckworth on Sunday 04 February 07 19:31 GMT (UK)
Thanks Eilleen.
I missed the first of the 3 programmes in this series and have the 2nd recorded. Will watch with interest on Tues.

No news yet from Lincolnshire Life.

Cheers
Bev