|A straw plaiting peg doll|
from Tring circa 1895
Straw plaiting was something women and children could do at home to supplement the family income and in many Hertfordshire villages, particularly around the St Albans area, it was one of the commonest occupations in the mid 19th century. Much of the plait was uses to make hats in St Albans and Luton. If your ancestor was a farm labourer in the area 150 years of so ago his wife may well have plaited straw, and his children as well.
The FindMyPast blog has recently published the following request for information.
‘Are you, were you, or do you know, a master hat–maker? If yes, we tip our caps to you, and hope that you might have something to share… We’re currently researching the hatting and straw plaiting industry in southern England - the commercial hub was in Luton, but the trade was also vitally important to people throughout Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex. If you, or anyone in your family, worked in the trade and would like to share your memories or any photographs, we would love to hear from you – you can contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org’
If you add a comment below about your straw plaiting or hat making ancestors I will forward the details to Katie.