As with all libraries, Wisbech has a section that is for study, with books that cannot be taken out. The books in this section are often old, and are always really interesting! I found a few that I made some notes on for this project, trying hard not to read the ones that looked interesting in general!
I found a great book just on woad. This is a natural dye, produced mainly in the Lincolnshire Fens, but also at Parson Drove which is technically in the Cambridgeshire Fens, at the northern end of the Ouse Washes. I’ll write a separate post about each craft I find, but woad is on the list of potential crafts to take forward to the workshop stage as it was an important part of the economic development of the area, and required skilled craftsmen as well as using field hands, often whole families, to produce the crop.
There was a few books on “crafts” – “East Anglian Crafts” was one – but not specific mention of the Fens, or towns in the Fens. We’re very much on the edge of other areas, which I think is significant.
I did find a reference to eel-catching baskets, and rag rugs, both of which I of course already had on my list, so I will research them further to get more specific information on place and design, perhaps particular to the area?
All in all, a useful few hours in the library, see the next blog post to find out more about woad.