Fustian ? Fushtian ? Fusion ? Fustion ?
But it's not surprising so many people get confused. It 's not really a word that is in our vocabulary today. But 150 years ago it was the word on everyone's lips locally as nearly half the families in Lymm would have relied on the fustian cutting trade to scrape a meagre living.
So what is it ?
Fustian is a generic term used to describe a hard-wearing type of fabric made from cotton and linen. The fabric contained a large amount of weft and was weaved with very slightly exposed loops of weft that could be cut with a very fine sharp blade. The result could be a velveteen finish or even corduroy. Fustian was the cloth of the working man's suit.
Why is it important to Lymm ?
There were no mills in Lymm but this cottage and workshop based trade occupied the village for a hundred years and dominated it for around half that time . Children as young as 8 were employed in appalling conditions and grew up in families racked by poverty and ill health.
"Hannah and the Ruby Glass" is a story for young readers about the life of a nine year old girl in Victorian Lymm who is facing the prospect of becoming a fustian cutter.
She wakes one morning to find a note left by her brother which sets her off on a series of events that could end up setting the course of her future life.
Available at the Heritage Centre or through our on-line shop.
See the process explained and illustrated thanks to Calderdale Museums and Galleries and Heptonstall Museum
This model of a fustian cutter's cottage and workshop is just one of the ways in which we tell the story of this Victorian trade in our Heritage Centre exhibit.