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1940s Mining Life

Making a rag rug at the Museum
Making a rag rug at the Museum
© National Coal Mining Museum for England (Photo: Phil Butcher)
Once children were in bed a miner's wife, would probably have continued with domestic chores, such as making a rag rug. Many working families made a new rug in time for Christmas.

Rag rugs are also known as Clippie, Peggy or Proddy Mats. They were made from cuttings of material from old clothes or blankets and they were very popular in the early and mid 20th century, especially in mining homes. The rugs were made for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. There were two types of rugs or mats; Rag or Clippy Rugs, made from short lengths of fabric; and Peggy or Proddy Mats, made from longer pieces of cloth clippings. Women had to make holes with a prodder and push the cloth through.

Traditionally people wanted pretty designs on their rugs so they would cut out their designs in brown paper or newspaper and then draw around the design on hessian cloth or sacking. A northern tradition was to use old grey blanket clippings for the whole border of the rug design. A prodded rag rug is made with the wrong side of the rug facing up. Sometimes longer pieces of cloth would be threaded through a lighter base material, ribbon style and used as bedcovers before they were put on the floor as summer mats. The rags or clippings would be cut and then all members of the family would help to make the rug usually sitting in front of the fire.
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