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Gwennap OPC

The Gouch (Gook) or Cornish bonnet

the gugh (cornish Bonnet.jpg (46892 bytes)

Most women who worked out-of-doors wore these bonnets to protect them from both rain and sun, Their local name was "Gooks" and they were made of a strong cambric type linen that could be boiled and starched. The crown part was double thickness and was quilted in linen that often had special pattern for different localities. It was a bit like piping around the edge of an easy chair with a channel of fabric threaded with soft cord. The brim was stiffened with webbing to stand proud of the face to shade from sunshine and to prevent dust falling near the eyes. at the base of the neck the material flounced out in a kind of skirt, again to protect the nape of the neck. Where this joined the crown their was a double row of stitching and the toe cords were threaded through this. Heavy linen union was sometimes used in winter but mostly they were white and like the white smocks and trousers of the fishermen. Women vied with each other to get them whiter then white, In Gwennap the washing was carried in flaques/ baskets and  laid on the side gorse bushes on Carn Marth to dry in the sun.

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The Cornish Bal Maidens wore their gooks to work but at the weekends they would wear special fancy hats with feathers in the side. The three cartoons above by George Seymour Jr who was an eminent mining engineer. He became the first President of the Institution on Mining and Metallurgy.  They are from a number of sketches which were published in the Mining Journal in the 1870's.  a. was entitled "At the end of the day." b. bal-maiden Friday, c. bal-maiden Saturday


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A Collection of Bonnets

1. Newlyn fishwives 

2. The Balmaidens photograph was taken on the occasion of a visit by journalists to the Dolcoath mine in the 1890's. the man in the white coat is the mine manager Mr Thomas.

3. A collection of Bonnets from left ro right - West Penwith, North Cornwall, Cornwall, St Agnes / Scorrier.

4. St Just in Penwith.

5. & 6. Scilly Flower Pickers

7. Scilly Kelpers