Hemeon, Maidie F. (rug maker)

Reference: D79/31Date: 1800s-1970sExtent: 74 objects
Rag rug sample from Hemeon collection
Rag rug sample. MERL 74/131/51

The Hemeon Collection of rug-making tools and thrift rugs was put together by Maidie F. Hemeon. Mrs Hemeon was interested in the tradition of ‘thrift’ rugs – rugs made using old fabrics and home-made or home-adapted tools. This type of rug has many names, including ‘rag’, ‘proddie’, ‘peggie’, ‘hooky’, ‘proggy’, ‘clippy’ and ‘bodgy’ rug.

These rugs became widespread during the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, but by the 1920s the craft was dying out except in areas of poverty or where tradition had a stronger hold. The necessity for thrift during World War II brought a brief revival, but it did not last long. Mrs Hemeon published a letter in the June 1970 edition of the Women’s Institute ‘Home & Country’ magazine in which she expressed her ambition to trace and preserve all the tools used in the craft before it was industrialised. She hoped to build up a display of samples, materials, tools and coloured photos of finished work in use, for demonstration, exhibition and educational purposes, and to simulate interest in making rag rugs as a living craft rather than as the remains of a dead one. She received many donations in response to the article..

The collection consists of samples, materials and tools for rag rug making. It is likely that some of the samples in the collection were made by Mrs Hemeon.

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