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Boer War housewife


This South African ('Boer') War leather 'housewife' – also known as (and always pronounced) 'hussif' – is attributed to Quartermaster-Sergeant Seymour Spencer. Spencer arrived in South Africa with the Fifth Contingent in April 1900. He was promoted to Lieutenant and saw further service with the Seventh and Ninth Contingents.

The housewife was a self-contained kit with needles, thread and a thimble for mending clothing. This particular example has a white linen lining and a pocket on one side. On the other are strips of fabric for needles, with needles and safety pins attached to them. There are embroidered loops to hold large (darning?) needles. A small piece of cardboard is sewn into the lining (to hold scissors?).


National Army Museum Te Mata Toa
Accession Number: 1980.6591
Permission of the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Boer War housewife, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated