Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Monday 17th June

This intriguing title does not refer to the Spaghetti Western but examples from the huge collection of exhibits held by Bradford Museum's Service.

We were lucky to have Collections Officer, Dale Keeton come to our meeting on Monday and tell us why he had dubbed them Good, Bad or Ugly.  With over 800 dresses to choose from, Dale introduced us to one of his favourites, a simple cotton muslin with a woven square pattern and fine red print which was around 200 years old. One of the best things about this talk was that we actually got to handle the items and could see not only how the dress was made, but also how it had been altered and repaired.  It had clearly been someone else's favourite dress!

A heavy black-crepe mourning dress was revealed to have an exotic lining that only its wearer knew about, whilst its flirtatious shape was designed to catch the eye of a suitable husband.

We learned about social history via hat-making in Luton; obscure legislation governing the length of hat pins thanks to the activities of the Suffragettes and had some pretty racy discussions about underwear!  Every item had a story worth telling and none more so than a shoe made of emu feathers that was allegedly worn by a murderer so as not to leave a trace.

Closer to home there were samples of silk brocade made for Queen Victoria by a firm in nearby Bingley and Charlotte Bronte's gloves which had been left by mistake.

Bad weather, illness and work commitments had kept Dale from us on previous occasions but he made it this time and it was definitely well worth waiting for.

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