Welsh Shawls

Another Victorian Introduction was the shawl probably as a result of the rise of crinoline dresses that were too wide to wear a coat over.

Between 1840 and 1870, shawls became very popular. They are not traditionally Welsh, and were worn in many places, although the paisley shawl is an accepted part of a traditional costume. Shawls were also used by Welsh women to carry their babies.

Elderly lady with hat and shawl

It's possible to trace the origins of the pattern we recognise as 'Paisley' back to the civilisation of Babylon, 2000 years ago. It was introduced to Europe in the 18th Century when silk shawls were imported from Kashmir. Such an exotic design become very popular, and soon they were in great demand. How this was possible, it's difficult to understand since, even at the time, customers had to pay 200 - 300 per shawl. As with every craft the price doesn't reflect the craftmanship, since it used to take about a year and a half to weave one shawl. The weavers of Paisley in Scotland monopolised the production of the shawl and once again it was seen as a fashionable garment, and is now considered an essential part of our Welsh costume.

Last amended: 1st December 2006

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player