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A photograph of Gordon Reid

Gordon Reid

The Wick Society has done knitting a real service.

Born: 1960

Duration: 15m 41s

Type: Audio

Filesize: 10.3 Mb

Recorded: 27 January 2020

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About this recording





Gordon Reid is the archivist at Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives but some of his spare time is spent researching and knitting ganseys. During this interview, Gordon explains that a gansey is a traditional pullover worn by fishermen. In addition to exploring the derivation of the word gansey, Gordon talks about the history and evolution of the garment from the 1860s onwards.

He likens the highly-decorated garments to a monochrome Persian carpet, as the patterns leap out at you.

Until the Johnston photographic collection became available online, little was known about the gansey patterns associated with Caithness. Gordon explains that the patterns have elements from both Yorkshire and the Western Isles. Through studying photographs from the Johnston Collection, around 50 different patterns have been identified.

Gordon claims, “The Wick Society has done knitting a real service by making these patterns available online”.

Through the use of digital technology, Gordon’s wife Margaret has been able to replicate the patterns. Gordon then knits the pattern and makes a comparison with the original photograph. On completion of these garments, Gordon kindly donated them to the Wick Heritage Museum, where they can be viewed and fully appreciated.




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18 - 27 Bank Row, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5EY

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