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Fishermen’s Ganseys


Our museum has been very fortunate to have received an extremely kind donation of these two fine examples of hand knitted fishermen’s ganseys. We are looking to sell these two ganseys as seen and is open to offers above £50 per piece. Interested parties are welcome to arrange to come in to see them. We are open 11am until 4pm every day until we close for the season on Saturday 2nd November, but appointments can be made with our Trustees to view at other times.
At the mercy of the elements, fishermen have always needed practical, warm clothing to protect them as they work the sea. Before the invention of truly waterproof clothing, their main line of defence was the gansey, a densely knitted garment using 5 ply 100% wool and a set of 5 double pointed number 12 needles. Ganseys or Guernseys (much plainer) were used from the eighteenth century up until the middle of the 20th century and were traditionally navy blue working garments. These examples of grey ganseys were for the weekends and dressy occasions. These are two excellent examples of the traditional methods used: underarm gussets to enable more movement, high necks for cosiness (with buttons to allow it to go over the head), with patterned stitches knitted into them referring to where on where on the coast the gansey was knitted and indicative of the skills of the knitter. Much research has been carried out on the making and the designs of the gansey and examples of finished jumpers are incredibly sought after.