Haslemere Educational Museum is a private museum and has a very special sampler collection. It was the second museum collection we imaged in order to raise money for the collection. I can still remember the joy of working there, and not just because of the samplers, but also because of the excellent curator and volunteer staff - amongst them Freda Chapman who for a time was also Chair of The Textile Society. I have seen a number, though small, of samplers worked by boys, and this one by James Wilson which was worked when he was 12 in 1828 is the most carefully worked I have seen. We discussed this sampler considerably without forming any conclusions while taking the photographs. How exactly did a boy come to make a sampler? In the Chicago Institute of Arts there is a lovely image of 5 year old Jean Renoir, painted by his father Auguste, showing the long-haired little boy stitching. It has to be remembered that many schools established in the 18th century and into the 19th century had as their objective little more than to ensure technically skilled crews for the British navy. Workhouse schools at the time had masts in the playground where it was expected boys would learn the ropes and rigging and, early on, develop a head for heights. This practice continued into my day at junior school when climbing on ropes and rope ladders to what felt like dizzying heights was part of a daily exercise regime. Talking to male work colleagues, I discovered that many believed they had been trained at school specifically for war. It is hard to describe just how ingrained this gendering was.