A ceremonial apron belonging to the Govan Weavers' Society.
The friendly society was founded on 30 August 1756. At that time, Govan was one of several weaving villages in the Glasgow area with a hierarchy of master weavers (many of them small landholders) working from their homes or employing journeymen and apprentices in their workshops. Although some men from other professions joined the Society (for example, the local schoolteacher), most members were local handloom weavers. Rules were introduced limiting membership to those who lived in the parish and were the sons or sons-in-law of members, and to those who could produce their indentures as journeymen weavers.
The Society had an oversman (later called a deacon), a collector (treasurer) and eight masters (board members). This ceremonial apron was worn by either the collector or the deacon. In its early years the Society instituted a variety of rituals that are said to have "not only rivalled but excelled the masonic mysteries".
Reference: 1360.87.148 / PP.1987.85.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
ceremonial aprons, collectors, deacons, fashions, friendly societies, Govan Weavers' Society, handloom weavers, journeymen, rituals