From these pictures and those in my previous post it is evident that the Peasant Arts movement was performing a worthwhile community function through the Wheel and Spindle Club, which seems to have brought a number of young girls together to learn spinning and weaving. From the "garland day" picture it is evident that boys were also included in some events at Sandhouse.
|The Wheel and Spindle Club, Sandhouse, Witley|
In the book Rearing an Imperial Race (Hecht, Charles, National Food Reform Association, 1913) Ethel and Maude are quoted with reference to an address by a Miss Gordon on the place of handiwork in education: ""There is nothing," said Miss Gordon in an inspiring address, which like her paper, claimed for her subject a high place in the educational curriculum, "like handiwork for helping men and women to find their level; in other words, there is nothing like craftsmanship for character building and character building is the whole object of teaching, I take it"". There is then a footnote quoting "To give a little girl the use of her hands is to bring a disinherited princess back into her kingdom" (‘Our experience of the Influence of Handicraft upon the Workers’, Peasant Arts Guild Paper, No. 10 , Ethel Blount and Maude E. King).
|Garland Day in a MPs garden,|
from 'The Ailing Countryside, and prescriptions for some forthcoming physic'
The mass of flower garlands on heads in the picture above, and the poor quality of the photo and photocopy(!), make it hard to make out individual faces. The distinctive chequer work of Sandhouse is more easily visible. In some parts of England, May Day (1st May) is called Garland Day, and it seems in other parts of England, like Derbyshire, it is at the end of May. The picture appears to be testimony that the Kings were holding a quaint 'country' community event.
The girls in these pictures do appear to be closer perhaps to Princesses than the 'country peasant' that the Blounts and Kings wrote about. The Kings were clearly wealthy, as the magnificence of their house, Sandhouse, testifies, and the Blounts and Greville MacDonald were also comfortably off. Maybe as a result of their wealth, their concept of the 'country peasant' which they were aiming to inspire through their movement, was a little distorted?