Monday 1 July 2013

vintage love: John Lewis sewing needles

Usually, when I acquire a vintage item, I don't know its back story or "provenance". This isn't the case with this set of John Lewis Gold Eyed Needles. My Grandmother gave them to me a few years ago. As she passed them over, she told me that she'd purchased them from John Lewis in London during World War II. She was stationed there during the conflict when she was a member of the Women's Voluntary Service.
vintage John Lewis Gold Eyed Needles london blitz WW2
It seems something of a miracle that I now own something that survived the Blitz. The packet is only just holding itself together, but that's hardly surprising considering it was bought over 70 years ago.
During the war the East End of London was worst hit, but the West End also suffered many bombing raids. Oxford Street took a terrible hit in 1940 and many iconic stores were badly damaged. Yet John Lewis reopened a small section of its Oxford Street store just three weeks after the building had been set ablaze by incendiary devices. You can read more about the history behind the Blitz and Oxford street in this interesting online article.
vintage John Lewis Gold Eyed Needles london blitz WW2
vintage John Lewis Gold Eyed Needles london blitz WW2
Below is a photo of my 20 year old Grandmother in her WVS uniform. She's now 93 and isn't able to sew due to her age and ill health. But she was an excellent seamstress and I've seen many of the blouses and dresses she created. Her generation made clothes because they had to, if you wanted the latest dress, most people couldn't afford it, so they had to run up something themselves. my Grandmother has had a lifetime of thriftiness, the 'make do and mend' spirit of the war has stayed with her to this day.

If you'd like to see more retro goodies, head on over to my "Vintage Finds" board over on Pinterest...

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

From simple needles to The Blitz. The best thing about vintage pieces is that they always have a story.


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