Death at the Needle

Author Mimi Matthews guests today, writing about the tragic life of the seamstresses who made those wonderful gowns we salivate over in historical romances. For those of you not familiar with Mimi Matthews’ blog, it’s one of the best researched historical fashion and culture websites out there. I’m a huge fan. Keep reading to see why.

Death at the Needle: The Tragedy of Victorian Seamstress Mary Walkley

by Mimi Matthews

“Sir,—I am a dressmaker, living in a large West-end house of business. I work in a crowded room with twenty-eight others. This morning one of my companions was found dead in her bed, and we all of us think that long hours and close confinement have had a great deal to do with her end.” […]

So starts the anonymous letter which brought the death of seamstress Mary Ann Walkley to the forefront of public attention. Originally printed in a June 17, 1863 edition of The Times, the letter—signed simply “A Tired Dressmaker”—details the miserable work and living conditions of seamstresses, not in the East End of London, but in one of the finest dressmaking establishments in London’s West End.

Keep Reading by clicking here: Death at the Needle: The Tragedy of Victorian Seamstress Mary Walkley — Mimi Matthews

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