Historic Environment Scotland recently put up a fascinating blog post on the history of Singer sewing machines, which you can read HERE, and it got us thinking about our own Singer sewing machine which is on permanent display at our Heritage Centre in Saltcoats.
Donated in late 2021, this machine had belonged to the donators grandmother in 1919 and had been passed on to the donators mother. Throughout the decades it has been well used and cared for. At the time of the donation, we had just re-opened following the COVID-19 pandemic and it was the first item we had received since re-opening and, as a result, it was put into quarantine.
Following that, it found itself on permanent display in the Heritage Centre in Saltcoats and under the watchful eye of our Visitor Assistant Leanna.
“As a keen sewer I fell in love with this machine as soon as a saw it, it is in really good condition, so pretty and ornate. I love that the machine folds into the table to be stored and has the cast iron pedal below the table with the Singer name on it.”– Leanna
“Since being on display it has been a very popular item, sparking many a conversation with the memories it brings back to visitors. With stories of their gran, mother or auntie having had one and teaching them how to sew on this machine or one similar. Or a memory of the noise it made when their mother was working away on it in the room.
One conversation that sticks in my mind was during our Titanic exhibition. A lady came up to the desk to ask me if I knew anything about the Singer machine and where it had come from as it looked very much like her grandmother’s machine.
I explained that it had been donated by a family that the owner was now longer able to use the machine. I mentioned that there were threads, scissors, a tine with machine foots in and the manual in the drawers and that the lady should have I look while I look up the information on the donation.
After looking at the Singer and checking the contents of the drawers, the lady came back to the desk, very emotional, and it turned out that it was her grandmothers machine. It had been donated by the ladies uncle after his mother could not use the machine anymore due to poor eyesight. None of the family members were able to keep the machine, however, they wanted it to go to a good home, so it was donated to the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre where visitors and staff alike can enjoy seeing it. I said to the Lady that she could come in anytime and I shall get her a chair, so she can sit by it for a while and remember her grandmother using the machine.”– Leanna
The next time you are in the Heritage Centre, make sure you have a wee look at our Singer sewing machine!