Costume Connections

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

So far, activities have included checking an ‘odds and ends’ box from a local garage for woodworm after treatment; looking at loans to local museums and deciding on the best course of action with a recent donation related to a photograph at Pen Mill School (More on this hopefully next week!)

Continuing our costume theme, we highlighted a connection between a fascinating apron and a well-known Yeovil figure.

When our volunteers requested a ‘familiarisation’ tour of our upper level environmentally controlled store (ECS) we started with two volunteers helping us with the care, re-packing and documentation of the costume collection.

This revealed how storage of the costume has changed, particularly from the former, very small and cramped store. We also asked our volunteers for their favourite item of costume and one ‘spoken of’ but not yet seen was a decorative apron listed as ‘Jacobean’ and worked by ‘Sarah 1st Duchess of Marlborough for our Great Grandmother.’ Upon locating the apron within the similar index of items, the true intricate nature of the garment was revealed – and radically different to our modern idea of a functional apron!

Upon checking our MODES Database for more information, we discovered the item was donated by W.R.E. Mitchelmore. This is particularly intriguing, as William Richard Edwards Mitchelmore also donated an eel spear and was involved in the preliminary investigations at the Westland Roman Villa Site in 1925. He was also the first honorary curator of The Wyndham Museum. Mitchelmore is perhaps best known as the ‘Peace Mayor’ – serving three terms between 1918 and 1921. Therefore, the connection with such a decorative item of costume, not only furthers our appreciation of the item itself, but also casts new light on our existing knowledge of this renowned individual and his status within Yeovil society.

The ‘Celebrating Yeovil’ 2017 Calendars continue to do well.

Gratitude to The Archive Photographs Series “Around Yeovil” Compiled by Robin Ansell and Marion Barnes, Chalford Publishing, 1995.

An embroidered apron listed as a production period ‘Jacobean’ from the period of English history that coincides with the reign of James 1 of England (1603 – 1625)

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