Costume Gallery

High Days and Holidays

The Costume Gallery features both a main exhibition and a smaller 'costume of the month' display.

Currently exhibiting: Winter Draws On

Winter in the UK is said to last from December to February, the season is generally cool, wet and windy, the temperatures rarely drop below −10 °C or rise above 15 °C.

It appears that winters are not as cold as they used to be, but is this really true or do we just lead much softer lives with central heating, double glazing and cars to take us from door to door? No longer is it necessary to wake and scrape the ice from the insides of windows and wash in an unheated bathroom, or even visit the privy in the garden. So the clothes we wear are now very different; no need for many layers of underwear and petticoats, and little need for long wool coats, hats and scarves. In the new costume exhibition ‘Winter Draws on’ a selection of winter wear will be on display showing many styles and textiles that we no longer wear, but some of us will remember!

The exhibition draws on the Museum’s extensive costume collection, ranging from such items as a pair of men’s breeches covered with rabbit fur to a pair of red nylon knee length Long Johns popular in the 1960s.   Along with clothing the display also features such things as a feather muff, warm woollen socks and paisley shawl, or a gentleman’s dressing gown from the 1930s.

The exhibition runs from 24 November – April 2015

For further information contact Jeremy Knight, Museum and Heritage Manager.


Costume of the Month:

This month the Museum is exhibiting  a court dress for Alfred James Bonwick (1883–1949), who was a Liberal politician for Chippenham in Wiltshire and on occasions needed to wear such attire. He was born in London, the only son of James Bonwick and Elizabeth Fowler. In 1909 Alfred married Florence Elizabeth Robinson; in 1910 they had one daughter, Florence Marjorie Bonwick. The family lived at Oakhill House (now a residential care home) off Highlands Road, Horsham.  The luxurious navy blue velvet jacket has matching breeches and is worn with a cream satin waistcoat.

Last Updated ( 04 February 2015 09:44 )