Appledore Rope Mats - A history and exploration of mat-making techniques
By Ann and George Wells. FW Publications 2009.
Ann, a well known Appledorian, recalls her father Walter Ford, making his rope mats on the kitchen table when home from sea. However, as mat making was regarded as 'men's work', Ann was never taught how to make a mat, but she used to watch him closely as the mat took shape under his hands from the carefully saved coils of old worn rope.
Still having some of his original tools, Ann and her husband George started to explore the possibility of making a rope mat themselves. In the course of their researches they visited the Bartlett Library at Falmouth's National Maritime Museum to see what information was available. It was suggested to them there that, as they had demonstrably more knowledge than anyone else, that they had better write a book themselves on the topic. And this is in fact what they did.
The result of their work is a beautifully produced small book of forty pages detailing a history and exploration of rope mat making. It is a delight to read. The information is clear and well presented, the excellent colour photographs of the processes could not be bettered, and the Appledorian anecdotes are entertaining and surprisingly accurate...
The book is available at a number of local museums, bookshops and other outlets and is also available on the internet. It is priced at £4.50.
Reviewed by Charmian Astbury
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