Tuesday, 29 May 2012

museum treasure

Anyone exploring Dorset with small children will know about the dinosaurs.  Known as the Jurassic coast, in the 19th century it was not unknown for fossil hunters to find (and plunder) entire dinosaur bones poking out of the cliff after a land fall.  In the county town Dorset there is a great little dinosaur museum, but there is also a gem of a county museum

Victorian Hall

Now I'm not expanding into museum promotion, although the eagle eyed of you will have noticed I have changed my by-line a little by adding (and other stuff) I am not extending my repertoire  that far.  Rather in the town museum I came across treasure that linked to my current enthusiasm, the great Titanic sew-a-long led by the wonderful vpll1912  The collection is small but contains four or five century's worth of clothing cast offs from the citizens of the county.  Because old cloth is so fragile and light sensitive the collection is rotated and how lucky was I to find on the day I went that they were showing off their Edwardian collection?  Titanic gold!

Black Ascot 1910

In 1910 the King had died just before Ascot, all the occupants in The Royal Enclosure wore full mourning, the meeting was known as The Black Ascot.  It is not inconceivable that one or two of those strolling the Royal Enclosure would be travelling first class on the Titanic two years later.

In the passenger list were agricultural workers from Dorset and the surrounding counties of Somerset and Hampshire.  I could imagine they may have gazed into this shop window on the High Street or one very similar in their local town.

Evans hatters in Dorchester High Street

Any agricultural worker travelling third class to a new world with new opportunities would most certainly have worn a sun bonnet, like one of these, when working in the fields or walking into town on market day.


Would they have packed them in hopeful anticipation of walking in their own corn fields in the mid-west?

Gloves and...

(No lady would have been seen without them on a sunny day)

Loved the...


evening bags
and the...
I have just bought some pleated fabric like the cream on the left to trim my ladies' mantle (coming up soon)

I found it so poignant reading all the small details  in Titanic Lives by Richard Davenport-Hines, the possessions they took with them on that fated journey, their back grounds and their family relationships.  If anyone took a sewing machine with them, as some women surely did, it will still be at the bottom of the ocean together with so many other private possessions, known to be useful of believed to be beautiful. 

like one of these (possibly)

No 1st class gentleman would travel without it

Hats certainly wanted on voyage

I could have stayed longer but my companions had finished looking at the geological exhibits (and the Romans) and Thomas Hardy's study and were ready for tea.



hand sewing inspiration

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