I just read your older posts about this project Jane...it's definitely something you will get your teeth into, it's something I may have chosen myself. I am going to be fascinated to watch this evolve and am envious of the research which lies ahead for you.
Ahh, you sensed the presence of lace from way off. All fabric was such a valuable commodity, lace and Broderie Anglaise especially so. There are little jewels of lace hidden amongst the grimy, hard work of the rope - representing the value of beauty, the identification of women with the sensuousness of soft fabrics, the femininity. And yet these women were the lowest in British society at the time, forced by circumstances way beyond their control, to steal, to do whatever they could to provide nurture for their families. These women were the lucky ones - they did after all escape the sentence of death. But how did they fare when compared to the women who stayed in the overcrowded jail system in Britain?
I am getting bound up with your project virtually from the sidelines, such a wonderful exploration!
Your encouragement and interest is sustaining to me, Mo. Thanks - only 31 weeks to go ...