Their Darkest Materials - Book (Physical Copy)

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Their Darkest Materials - Book (Physical Copy)



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  • Handmade
  • Materials: Paper, ink, printed in UK

A compelling history of the dark side of material culture - especially textiles.

'Their Darkest Materials' is about the seamy, dark, sometimes creepy underside of material culture and textile history. A sort of 'Horrible History' for grown-ups.

In 'Their Darkest Materials', we creep through nineteenth century asylums, debtors' prisons, charity schools, pubs and marketplaces; the 'stews' (brothels) of the city, school-rooms, collapsing London houses, workhouse toilets, small-town waxwork exhibitions in back rooms and see ladies knitting in grand Georgian drawing rooms; following the unravelling thread of history's textiles.

We'll find out which Victorian novelist's mauve ribbon was trapped in her coffin lid and discover clothing-as-evidence in an infamous London burking case ("Burking" as in "Burke and Hare").

And we'll watch a Yorkshire farmer's wife knit a blue stocking on the morning of her murder and a caddish, handsome soldier murdering his stocking-knitting new wife. And we'll spend time in the county asylum with a world famous dyer's incendiarist wife and an embroiderer who used her art to say the unsayable.


1. Grim and Less Grim Deaths: The Approach of the Destroyer, the Partly-Murdered Knitter & Other Tales
2. The Bewitched Spinning Wheel & Other Tales
3. Murder, Mayhem and Knitting as Evidence
4. The Small Woman: The Nineteenth Century Needlewoman
5. "Virtute et Industria". The Stick, the Carrot and the Virtuous Child & Also the Trope of the Extremely Old Knitter
6. The Lost: Runaways - Slaves, Servants, Apprentices and The Captive
7. "Twelve Bobbins Spinning". Charity Schools & Poor Houses
8. Prisons and Idle Loiterers
9. The Dyer Who Watched Storms and also Concerning A Properly Shaped Female
10. Nathaniel Smith, the Knitting Schoolmaster

232 pages. Perfect-bound paperback. Printed in UK. Published by Pretty Baa Lambs Press.

ISBN: 978-1-9163391-0-1
e-ISBN: 978-1-9163391-1-8

PDF version (non interactive) in separate listing.

If you'd like a signed copy, please fill out the box!

NOTE: We are now back mailing out every couple of days as we are printing out labels at home and not having to expose ourselves or our local PO workers to any risk, that way. It also means you, our valued customers, will be getting your mitts on the book faster, again.

Whilst UK postal services are still up and running, we have noticed some considerable delays with US in particular - which means we are now only sending abroad, tracked. So please be patient with us and your postie!



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02-04 Mar.

26 Feb.

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01-02 Mar.

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HemingwayandHunt puts your order in the post.

02-04 Mar.


Estimated to arrive at your doorstep 02-04 Mar.!

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Dispatches from United Kingdom
Penelope Hemingway

Penelope Hemingway

Owner of HemingwayandHunt

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69 reviews

5 out of 5 stars

Linda Barron 27 Feb, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

Just received my copy of 'Their Dark Materials'. Can't wait to get curled up in a big chair with it. Read just a few pages so far and I'm already transported back a couple of centuries. Speedy delivery. Friendly vendor. Excellent service. Many thanks.

Purchased item:

Frances Earnshaw 15 Mar, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

A completely fascinating journey into this quirky area of history. I haven't finished the book yet. I am still on the journey. The illustrations are super.

Purchased item:

TheLibrarian2016 20 May, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

Received this a few days ago, in perfect condition and right on time. I haven't had the chance to sit down with it yet, but it looks to be a delightful read. Thanks so much, Penelope! I look forward very much to reading Their Darkest Materials!

Purchased item:

Katie Mansfield 15 Sep, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

I'm really enjoying it. Very well researched and written. I do love history and anything to do with textiles. The author even signed the book for me!

Purchased item: