December 7, 2012

Sepia Saturday #155: Like a Rock

Overalls make me think of two things: the 1970s, and a questionable fashion trend, and WORK.  Although my Great-Grandfather, Thomas Polland, is not wearing overalls in this photo, I am certain he must have worn them at some time in his work as a sett-maker * in the Mountains of Mourne, County Down, Northern Ireland in the late 1800s.

The quarryman, spent
His whole life chipping away—
A face of granite.

Kat Mortensen©2012Creative Commons Licence

*the paragraph below the last photo in the linked post explains what this is.

My profound regrets for not having got round to visit all your worthy posts from last week.  A back injury has kept me from sitting at my computer, and the iPad, though brilliant, is tedious for making comments.  I'll do my best to do better this week.


Please visit the Sepia Saturday blog to find inspired visions resulting from the following image:

click the pic!


  1. Great photo Kat. What is a sett-maker? or even a sett?

    1. Thanks! You're right, I should have linked to an earlier post where that is explained. Will do so NOW.

  2. Interesting photo. Thomas looks pretty dressed up. He looks more like a professor than a sett-maker (not sure what that is - couldn't find it in your blog - guess I didn't read far enough). But he's quite a natty dresser.

  3. Very interesting and got caught up in the old post about the cousins and the sett making. Sounds like tedious work, to say the least. Did you ever find out if the other people were also cousins?

  4. What a great old photograph Kat. And thanks for the link back to the explanation of sett-making. Granite setts were a part of my own youthful memories as well. When my parents moved in to their new house in the early 1950s it must have been built on land that previously had a road which had been constructed out of granite sets. There was a great pile of them at the bottom of the garden and for years my father built walls and paths out of them. One of my earliest memories is being fascinated by the uniform shape of them and the colour of them. You provide a fascinating backstory to the memory.

  5. There was a stonemason's yard immediately behing our home. I watched him for hours chipping away at stones, not granite though. Much dust from a tedious job, or so it seemed to me.

  6. Hi Kat, first I hope that you are feeling better today. What a great picture of your grandfather ... look at all of those rocks!

    I was wearing overalls in 1977 (that my Grandpa J. had given me for Christmas) when my soon to be husband and I went on a motorcycle ride on a sunny January day and crashed on black ice. I landed on my butt and wasn't hurt, but he had torn his knee to pieces. After driving us home (the bike was barely hurt), he said, "I think I need to go to the hospital." He had surgery a few hours later.

    Kathy M.

  7. I think you are so lucky/blessed to have a photo of your great-grandfather at work/at his work site. It looks like hard work, too. I suppose his hands were really calloused.

  8. I hope you feel better quickly! That's a great photo of your great-grandfather. What terribly tiring work he was involved in as a sett-maker.

  9. I'd run across the term "sett-maker" before, but never knew what it was...such a tedious job, but one that had to involve great skill; buildings needed to be true, and a good sett-maker could make that happen. Wonderful post!

  10. Your Great-Grandfather Thomas must have had arm muscles like nothing you've ever seen!
    Hope your back gets better soon. Back injuries are so tiring.

  11. Odd place for a walk for a man with a walking stick, isn't it?
    Looks risky!!
    Good pic though.

    Get better soon!!

    Still haven't seen that UPS guy with MY fudge...

  12. That sounds like work that demands one wear overalls.

  13. A great photo especially because you know his work, as we casual readers might never guess. Having walked over such rocky slopes, the walking stick makes perfect sense. I will treat stone work with more respect to think of the workers who fashioned it. Hope you will soon feel fit again.