[No: IX | October 14, 2013 | By Viveka Hansen ]
The comprehensive Whitby Museum collection related to clothing is unique in many ways for a small town, especially with its important collection of some 200 dresses, dating from the Victorian and Edwardian periods and up to the First World War (1837-1914). This text is the first extract from the extensive material on Victorian fashion and skilled dressmaking, which will be included in my forthcoming book [PUBLISHED JUNE, 2015].
A fair number of items in the collection were donated in the 20th century by ladies most likely descended from families with draper’s businesses in Whitby. Of these, ‘Mrs Frankland, Carr Hill Lane, Briggswath Whitby’ was probably connected with Frankland & Son of 88 Church Street, a draper’s shop that advertised in the Whitby Gazette during the 1860-1880 period. She gave a well-sewn skirt and bodice in striped blue silk (GBD19) from the early 1870s, with wide sleeve ends and decorated with blue and black silk details. Another lady who gave several items was ‘Miss G. Wellburn, Sleights’, whose name links her with the long-lived Wellburn Brothers Linen and Woollen Drapery Establishment in Bridge Street that advertised regularly between 1857 and 1914.
During the Whitby Gazette’s second year of publication Edmund Crane’s Linen and Woollen Drapers, apparently the largest such local firm, advertised continually. The shop had a rich stock to offer its customers, mainly clothing and accessories for clothes but also textiles for home furnishing. G.S. Breckon’s smaller advertisement from the same year was less comprehensive, but readers were informed that Breckon’s sold ‘Smith’s Patent Royal Symmetrical & Radion Corsets’. These corsets were most likely machine-sewn in view of their patent, although many corsets were still being hand-sewn in the mid-1850s. Thanks to the introduction of the sewing machine at the beginning of that decade, the production of underclothes and corsets developed into a substantial industry at a speed that would not have been possible with hand-sewing.
– Hansen, Viveka, ‘The Textile History of Whitby 1700-1914’ (extracts of Chapters 3 & 5, from the forthcoming book). PUBLISHED JUNE 15TH, 2015.
PLEASE REFERENCE AS FOLLOWS:
– Hansen, Viveka, ‘Victorian Fashion’, TEXTILIS (October 14, 2013); http://textilis.net/ (Accessed: Day/Month/Year)