Long Thread Podcast: Penelope Hemingway

Season 2, Episode 9: In the back rooms of Yorkshire's archives and museums, textile treasures await an understanding historian.

Anne Merrow May 21, 2021 - 2 min read

Long Thread Podcast: Penelope Hemingway Primary Image

Subscribe to The Long Thread Podcast:

Penelope Hemingway's husband is a professional Viking.

They share a love of history, particularly in understanding the everyday lives of people in other eras. In addition to reenactment, which drew her to learn handspinning and other textile crafts, she enjoys uncovering what household items, clothing, and other items of daily life can reveal about the people who used them.

Exploring these items, known as "material culture," has led her in the footsteps of needleworkers from centuries ago, from the knitting needles used by the Brontë sisters to some of the last commercially handknitted gloves from the Yorkshire Dales.


Old Hand-Knitters of the Dales by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby, was revived with a new foreword by Penelope Hemingway.

Their Darkest Materials, Penelope's most recent book, looks at the grim, grisly, and creepy stories of material culture.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, maintains a collection of the family's property in the home where the Emily, Anne, and Charlotte spent most of their lives.

"Charlotte Brontë's Love Letters" by Penelope Hemingway in PieceWork Summer 2021 details the history of letters that Charlotte Brontë wrote to her teacher that were ripped up and later stitched back together and preserved.

Anne Merrow is a former editor of Spin Off magazine and a cofounder and editorial director of Long Thread Media.