Women's Tie-on Pockets in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
The nursery rhyme ‘Lucy Locket lost her pocket’ is probably the only shared memory left of the tie-on pocket today. Yet every day between the late seventeenth and the late nineteenth centuries, British women and girls of all social classes – from duchesses and country gentry, to prostitutes and washerwomen – wore detachable pockets like Lucy Locket’s. They tied them round their waists independently of their clothing, reached them through openings in their petticoats and dresses, and took them on and off at will.
Dr. Ariane Fenneatux, Associate Professor of the Université de Paris, France, discusses how pockets may seem obscure now, but when restored to our attention, they open up a nexus of historical questions ranging from women’s domesticity and work to agency, from possession to financial independence, and from consumer practices to privacy.
Based on the 2019 book co-written with Barbara Burman The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives 1660-1900, Dr. Fenneatux explores aspects of the social and cultural history of women’s pockets to show how they provide a lens to view women’s lives in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.