Canal wives and their Sunday best at the Brighouse Festival 2016

I have visited the Brighouse Festival during the last couple of days and as usual the organisers have done the town proud.


The centre of the small town was cordoned off so that market stalls could be set up and these were selling everything from cheese to pork pies, hand-made silks to exotic oils and numerous other traders.

The canal basin had been invaded by narrow boats and there were regular trips along the canal for visitors. Alternatively, you could stand and watch a rather large barge negotiate its was through one of the locks.


Alongside the canal I came across several women dressed in 19th century apparel, beautiful bonnets and shawls. I asked them what the story was behind the clothing and they said that this was normal daily wear for the women who travelled up and down the canals and lived on the barges / narrow boats. The huge bonnets were long at the back to protect against the sun and the peak could be turned up or down at the front to protect against bad weather.


The bonnets on display I was assured were “Sunday best” and that women would have three or four different ordinary one that they wore during the working week. The broach worn by the lady in there bottom photographs was from the 19th century and was made of small dried flowers and I have to say it was a thing of beauty.


The intricacy of the patterns on these bonnets must have required a very high level of skill to make them, and I would consider them works of art. Two of the ladies in bonnets very kindly posed for me and I have included those photographs in this blog.

Photographs (C) Kindadukish

This entry was posted in Colne Valley, Culture, Food Festivals, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Canal wives and their Sunday best at the Brighouse Festival 2016

  1. info4u2bu says:

    Now I know why you keep sneaking off down the canal towpath!


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