Box; XEC.1249



About this object

This black box decorated with gilt leaf belonged to Margaret Edith Lush and was used to store crochet implements. During the 19th century and much of the 20th century almost all young girls and women knew how to make clothes and household items, and this work was an important contribution to the family economy. While knitting and sewing were commonplace household jobs, they also provided house-bound women with opportunities for creative expression by enabling them to create affordable clothing and housewares. (1)

Margaret Edith Lush was born in 1859, but tragically died from Scarlet Fever in 1876 at the age of 16. While the death of a child was not unusual during the Victorian era, this does not mean that the loss was not felt greatly by parents and family members. In his journal, Margaret Edith’s father wrote openly of his grief as he struggled to come to terms with the loss of his daughter, ‘”The child is not dead but sleepth” This has been the burden of my thought ever since 9 oclock when my dear dear dearest Edith Fell asleep.’ (2) In the Lush family archives held at Ewelme Cottage, there are a number of mementoes which serve as poignant reminders of the family’s tragic loss, including photographs of her gravestone, mourning cards, and inscriptions in books.

(1) Kerryn Pollock, ‘Sewing, knitting and textile crafts – Home textile crafts,’ Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
(2) Vicesimus Lush, 22 April 1876, ‘LUSH Family Papers, MS780-Box3-Folder26, Auckland Museum Library, quoted in Gillian Nelson, ‘”In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”: Vicesimus Lush and his journals, 1850-1882,’ Master’s thesis Victoria University of Wellington, 2012, p. 31.

For more information about the Lush family and Ewelme Cottage, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials

Wood, paper, cardboard


8.4 x 4.7 x 1.3cm

Credit Line

Collection of Ewelme Cottage, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type

Crochet box

Object number



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