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Occupational Portraits  • Fishermen

Knitted Gansey

Fisherman Gansey The knitted navy blue Guernsey (Pronounced gansey) was the working wear of Britain's fishermen.
Many have tried to maintain a myth that certain patterns belong exclusively to one fishing village or even one family
There is only an element of truth in the myth. Certainly fisherman would have worn Ganseys knitted by close relatives and bought from local knitters. Ganseys with horizontal bands such as the one on the left and the "seeds and bars" pattern are seen in photographs from every fishing port. These were the everyday working Ganseys worn at sea. They were produced at home by contract knitters and sold by ship's chandlers.
Most patterns you will see in studio portraits will be more exclusive elaborate "Sunday Best" Ganseys as seen on the right, consisting of vertical columns of pattern. More time-consuming and difficult to knit.
Willie & Mary Long of Sheringham by Olive Edis

Photograph on the left by J.Barrett of Lowestoft

Photograph above right of Mary and Willie Long by Olive Edis R.A of Sheringham Norfolk