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Family heirlooms in costume extravaganza

FAMILY heirloom clothes presented to the museum by generous donors were among highlights of a special weekend exhibition.

For textiles and fashion expert Georgina Bradley and her team of volunteers who care for the museum’s extensive costume and textile collection the new additions exemplify the importance of the work they undertake in conserving significant items from the past and putting them on display.

At the two-day Costume Extravaganza, Georgina said: “They have been donated in the last two months by a family in Hooe and they are quite beautiful. They had been stored in a trunk in a garden shed which had been flooded a couple of times!”

The heirlooms survived intact.

“The clothes are superb,” Georgina explained.

Exhibits included a Victorian dressing gown, a silk brocade opera cloak and a valet’s waistcoat.

Like all such establishments, Bexhill Museum holds far more items than it could ever hope to exhibit at one time. The autumn extravaganza is an opportunity to take hitherto unseen clothing from its carefully-placed tissue paper wrapping and exhibit it for the public’s information and pleasure.

Amid the Motor Heritage Gallery’s cars and engines was an exquisitely hand-painted jacket worn to a fancy dress ball by Sidney George Sewell in 1910 illustrating local landmarks.

Sargent Gallery exhibits ranged from Edwardian bead-worked stoles to vivid 1950’s neck-scarves together with a Victorian wedding dress. Uniforms on loan from Pevensey Museum included one once worn by local Territorial Fred Geering in 1912.

Model Jill Howard adorned so many magazine covers in the 1950s that when her own wedding came, Woman magazine not only featured her in her dress but included a pattern so readers could make their own. A copy of the magazine’s centre-spread featured in a display of wedding dresses which were among treasures in the Museum’s Education Room.

Other items ranged from a pressed flannel doll to Victorian bonnets and a shoe-maker’s show-piece boot – made to large scale for display purposes. Visitors could watch traditional lace-making in progress.

In the Costume and Social History Gallery museum volunteer Hisako was wearing her traditional Japanese costume for the occasion. The gallery is dominated by displays depicting the fashions of the Roaring Twenties and the Thirties. This display continues until the end of the year.




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