Sunday, 7 March 2010

A Mystery Managed

You're a blog reader, I know. Does your list have any special extras on it? A rogue blog; one which doesn't have anything to connect it with most of the others you love? I found one this week, and here's how it happened.

Just before Christmas The Small One and I were helping Granny have a bit of a clothes clear out. I was just about to suggest a cup of tea and a French Fancy; but I held up one final outfit and Granny shook her head, so I put it on the "no" pile and then I looked at the hanger. It felt good in my hand. It was heavy and slightly battered; and I ran my finger over the name stamped on the worn wood. It looked like this:




I couldn't remember ever having seen it before and Granny didn't know where it had come from; but she could see that I had taken a fancy to it and she said I could keep it. I brought it home and hung it on my coat stand and wondered where I could find out more.




It caught my eye again this week, so I brought it downstairs, opened my laptop and started to google. I found History Of Department Stores first and it's a good site, but it didn't tell me what I wanted to know; so I clicked on a link to Shopping Days in retro Boston. I was instantly charmed! If you've ever been to Boston, if you are at all interested in history or shopping, take a look. It's a wonderful example of a special interest blog created with care by a man who loves his subject. I took a chance then and there. I emailed Charles and he was kind enough to email me right back. How nice is that? He was able to tell me that Gross and Strauss traded in Boston in the late 19th Century and that their newspaper ads had disappeared by 1900. They sold fabrics and ready to wear outer wear. And he sent me some newspaper ads to look at.

Of course I was delighted. Now I know that my coat hanger is over 100 years old and was probably presented as a gift with a coat. But who bought that coat and how the hanger journeyed from New England to a little country town in the UK must remain a mystery for now. Maybe I'll never know. But I do know that I've found a fascinating new blog to visit and that I've got an interesting new scrapbook page to make. So thank you Charles. I'm looking forward to it.

24 comments:

Carmen said...

Wow doesn't it look amazing for it's age? If only objects could talk what tales could they tell.

Loved this post Sian, thanks for sharing it with us.

scrappyjacky said...

So interesting,Sian....I love knowing the history behind things....maybe someday you'll find out more.

debs14 said...

What a lovely story, and I wonder what the history is behind the trip between Boston and the UK all those years ago.
Somehow I don't think our ancestors will have the same interest in the M&S and Next hangers that I am sure we all have hanging in our wardrobes!

SarahLP said...

Wow, that's a lovely story, Sian.. what a beautiful old hanger.. it reminds me of those painted adverts you see on the side of old buildings, fading and barely visible but hinting of a past life we can only imagine..
What a great man sending you some old adverts from Boston - there are some lovely kind people out there!

Ruth said...

That's a great story. I was initially thinking Boston, Lincolnshire.

Debsg said...

Thank you for sharing this. I great hanger. I'd love to know it's story.

JO SOWERBY said...

OOOH LOVE HISTORY AND FAMILY HISTORY ESPECIALLY. HOPE U FIND WHO IT BELONGED TO,
JO XXX

melissa said...

how cool! I live just a few miles outside of Boston so if I can help you with your mystery in any way, let me know!

Deb said...

Oh, this is FUN. I LOVE finding old stuff like this and researching where it came from. You are a girl after my own heart, Sian ~ you appreciate the beauty of an old coat hanger just like I would. :o)

Kirsty.a said...

Cool piece of research. Just shows how helpful strangers can be.

Denise said...

What a lovely story,it's amazing what you can find now isn't it and that hanger has seen a lot of clothes I bet :-)x

Alana said...

What a wonderfull story, does Granny know where she got it from? Maybe you can find out more.
I think if you tie a pretty ribbon around the hook the hanger would look nice just hanginfg on you door or rack.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Awesome story Sian! Doing some family history is on my list of want-to-do's! My favorite "what does this have to do with anything else" blog is called Project Rungay. It started as two gay men blogging about the reality show "Project Runway," but now they blog about lots of other TV and fashion news. So fun, fresh and hysterically funny. Here's the link:
http://projectrungay.blogspot.com/

rinda

Clair said...

A cup of tea and a French fancy? I'd have known that you're a woman after my own heart even before you went on to tell your story of mystery, intrigue and vintage shopping.

Cheri said...

Isn't it amazing how the Internet can instantly hook you into information and contacts that you would never have been able to reach even 15 years ago? Glad you found some info - that hanger is really interesting.

humel said...

What a find! It's beautiful :-)

I have many rogues on my blog list - Clair, Jo, Amy, Lizzie, Kate, Rinda, etc, etc..... ;-)

Ally said...

That's such a lovely story with a very satisying ending. It's lovely when little parts of history come together isn't it?

Karen said...

What a great story! I love learning about the stories behind objects. And it's a beautiful hanger.

Lizzie said...

History is definitely in the little things. What a great story, Sian. I have several old knick-knacks about whose history I know very little. Maybe I should try some research too.
That hanger is lovely, and it's fun to know a little about it. And to still have that little mystery about how it came to be in your Gran's wardrobe and how it got to England at all.

Scrappi Sandi said...

Ooooh! I love a bit of social history! It's a beautiful item & what a challenge to find out how it came to be in your Grans wardrobe! Thank you so much for that link too.

Kim said...

very neat story!

sharyncarlson said...

Oh how fascinating! What a lovely post, thanks for sharing this story :) And I agree, the hanger is beautiful!

Micayla said...

Oh wow, that is just like what I am trying to find. I want clips on mine though. So glad you found out about the history of the hanger, it kinda makes it feel more special don't you think?
Have a lovely week Sian.
Micayla xx

Darcy said...

aww I love this story, it's great to find out the history behind what we take to be an ordinary,everyday object.x

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