The banner of the Glasgow Ropemakers Society, 1846.
Written on the banner are two slogans: "United we stand, divided we fall", and "Our hope is in the rope". The representation of a ship and two sailors refers to the importance of rope on the ships of the Royal Navy and the merchant fleet, on which Britain's power and prosperity depended so heavily. The image beneath the shield depicts a ropemaker at work on a ropewalk.
Rope is made by twisting fibres together. In the first stage, the ropemaker has a bundle of fibre held at his waist. He walks backwards along the ropewalk twisting the fibre into yarn. A number of yarns are then twisted together to make a strand, and finally strands are twisted together to produce the finished rope. To stop the rope unravelling, it is crucial to alternate the direction of the twist. For example, if the twist to make the yarn was left to right, then the twist to make the strand must be right to left, and the twist to make the rope must be left to right again.
Reference: 44.82.130 / PP.1909.140B
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
Glasgow Ropemakers Society, rope and twine makers, rope makers, rope making, ropes, ropewalks, sailing ships, sailors, trade union banners, trade unions, trades unions, uniforms