Wednesday, 13 February 2008


There are still lovely moments on the internet - this morning I found one.

There I was in Sydney, Australia reading an American knitting site ( and found a link to an Irish knitting blog so away I went to look.

The blog is A simple Yarn written by Cheryl Marling, an American living in Dublin, it's a good read and I will be back to spend more time there, but the thing that caught my eye this morning was MY granny's sewing box...yep, alive and well and living in Dublin!

Cheryl's box was found dumped in a skip and she describes it as a writing desk, not sure of the measurements of it so although it looks the same, it could be larger than mine.

This is Cheryl's: (apologies Cheryl, I hope you don't mind that I'm using this photo from your blog, but I really wanted to show the two boxes together)

and this is my granny's:


Granny left it to my mother and now it's come to me - the inside of the box is still in the original, very used, worn out state - I've often thought about restoring it but didn't want to touch the fine worn blue silk, so have just left it.

I was always told it was a sewing box, I really think it would be too small to use as a writing desk as Cheryl describes.

Now the strange part is that my great grandmother, Margaret Reilly, was Irish and came to Australia about 1847 from County Cavan. She was about seventeen years old when she arrived here - we've been unable to find out very much about her and she died when my grandmother was only three years old.

I've often wondered about the worn out condition of the box as Granny really took good care of the other things I've inherited so now I'm wondering if this originally belonged to *her* mother -

Would a poor young Irish girl have brought a box like this with her from Ireland?

I guess now I will always wonder, but never know




Granny's sewing box



yewenyi said...

wow, it is magnificent. You should talk to an antique dealer to find out more about them.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise to awake to! Very interesting...very cool! My box seems to be made by the same craftsman, but is definitely a secretary or writing desk as it has, under the silvery tray, a hinged bit that folds back and reveals a blue velveteen writing surface under a wooden cubby space. It also has a place for pens, stamps, etc. Even had an ink bottle in it. And in the lid, behind the gathered silk there is a place that pulls back to reveal a space for stationery. Very unique!

But the outside has similar markings, the diamond on the top and around the lock on the front. The outside of your box is in much better condition though and more ornate...mine's rather plain and square.

Sad story about the skip was next door. The place was being sold as the owner (original owner when it was built in the late 1920s) was suffering from dementia and had to be put into elderly care. So the niece sold what was worth something and was forced to skip the rest. We rescued old ceramic hot water bottles, a wardrobe mirror, coloured glass light fixtures, silver spoons and more. Who knows, this box could have been *her* mothers!

Rika said...

What a beautiful box!

Erica said...

yewenyi: thanks, I may find a dealer one day and talk to them

Erica said...

Cheryl, thanks for coming to see the box - it would be interesting to find out who made them, with so many similarities.
It is sad about the skip, it happened recently with one of our friends who was moving and just couldn't cope with packing things even to give away. We rescued some things but there was just too much

Erica said...

rein, thanks for coming to see it

TB said...

Wow, it's beautiful! I agree that refraining from restoring is the way to go. I like seeing the worn spots where it was obviously used again and again. What a treasure.

elsa eriika said...

Hello! Thank you very much for wonderful blog! I am reading and looking it right now and i enjoy about it very much! I link you to my bloglist, okay?

Christine said...

Erica, I've definitely been watching too much Antiques Roadshow. Have a look at these two sites, looks like you box may be a Tunbridge ware work box, worth having repaired (though not completely restored).

Hope this is helpful,

Erica said...

apologies, I've been so long away from this blog,
Twila Grace - thanks I too like the worn parts
elsa eriika - thank you for reading,and linking to me, I'll try to get things moving here again so there is something to read!
Christine, thanks for the links, I think you've hit it, I've had a good look around those sites and it certainly looks like Tunbridge

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