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Education at the Art Galleries
Education at the Art Galleries

Mrs McGowan
Mrs McGowan

Dandy Loom

GUL, Sp Coll, Northern Looking Glass

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Dandy Loom

Coloured cartoon from the Northern Looking Glass 14 November 1825, depicting a prisoner operating a Dandy Loom in the city's bridewell. The bridewell, or prison, was built in the grounds of the old correction house off Drygate in the late 1790s, with seventy-four debtors' cells and fifty-eight for felons. In 1825 work began on a new jail there, which was to become known as Duke Street Prison.

The caption indicates that looms had been provided for prisoners at the bridewell, to create a small fund that would be handed to the convict at the end of his sentence to ease his return to "normal" life, or perhaps to help imprisoned debtors raise money to pay off the debts that had landed them in their debtors' cells in the first place. Referring to the Dandy Loom, the author noted that "the principal advantage over the common hand loom was that it is much smaller and in the application of a crank, by which, as in steam looms, the number of picts in a weft is regulated, and the cloth consequently made more even."

An un-coloured copy of this image was made in James Hopkirk's book of drawings in 1827, omitting the prison window.

Reference: Sp Coll Bh14-x.8

Glasgow University Library, Special Collections

bridewells, convicts, correction houses, Dandy Looms, debtors, Duke Street Prison, gaols, Glasgow Looking Glass, handloom weavers, handlooms, jails, lithographs, Northern Looking Glass, prisoners, textile manufacturing, textiles

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