Carnival Capers!

Carnival Capers!

I regularly find intriguing objects that take me on a journey of discovery and this badge has to be one of the best so far. Consisting of a large enamel pendant on a chain, it features a man carrying something on his shoulder, with the legend ‘SEIDEN WEBERS LACHPARADE 1976 CHARLY I LYDIA I KREFELD’ around the outside. Stamped on the back with the maker’s name, Adam Donner of Wuppertal, my first search found that this factory is still in operation making a variety of enamelled badges and other promotional materials. Listings in online auctions showed that older examples are highly collectable but there were none that looked like mine so I began to get really interested in this strange thing I had come across.

Master Ponzelar, krefeld, silk weavers, sieden webers, germany, believe to be beautiful,

Statue of Master Ponzelar

Next I looked up Krefeld and discovered a city in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, twinned with Leicester, styling itself “City of Silk and Velvet”, whose list of illustrious sons includes Thierry Hermes, founder of the famous luxury brand. Silk weaving became a major trade in the area, developing from a cottage industry in the 18th century and today weavers’ houses are preserved as part of the city’s heritage and they are commemorated with a statue of Master Ponzelar, depicted carrying a roll of fabric on his shoulder, who turns out to be the figure shown in the centre of my badge.

The text around the outside of the badge rather oddly translates as ‘Silk Weavers Laughing Parade’ and I wonder whether rather than literally a parade of silk weavers laughing, the meaning is closer to a carnival procession and has simply been lost in translation. A Google search once again came up trumps revealing a newspaper article from 2016 in which two former directors of the Krefeld ‘Silk Weaving House’ described a weekend of festivities held to launch the new museum in January 1976.  Mention is made in the article of the carnival Prince and Princess named Charly and Lydia who, on being brought to the Weaver’s House were disappointed to find there was no beer on offer! I was thrilled to find the very people mentioned on my 40-year-old pendant, and, just to prove how wonderful a tool the internet is for the amateur researcher, I was able to find a record in Krefeld’s online archive of all the Carnival Princes and Princesses since records began and, under the entry for 1976, not only a photo of Charly and Lydia, proudly sporting their enamel pendants but also a close up of the pendant itself! Sadly, copyright in the photos prevents me from showing them here but you can find out more at:   http://www.hkk-krefeld.de and if you know anything about Krefeld, especially if you’ve been there at carnival time, or you know anything about Charly and Lydia and how one of their pendants came to be on sale in a Kent junk shop, then I’d love to hear from you. Why not get in touch via the Contacts page today?