Although the focus is on samplers, visitors' delight at these charming works may quickly turn to dismay on learning that the perfectly stitched miniature clothes also on display were sewn by girls as young as four years old.
Many charitable schools made money by selling such needlework. In 1834, one Edinburgh school, established to house and educate the destitute daughters of Edinburgh merchants, had pupils sewing for up to five hours a day.
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