Tag Archives: Costume

The problem of the Nankeen trousers

We have enjoyed a busy and involving week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

We started out early on Monday as staff from the Somerset Archives arrived to collect 153 Local Council Ledgers for deposit in the Somerset Heritage Centre (SHC).

We had envisaged them needing most of the day to go through the ledgers as the SHC is closed on Mondays, allowing the staff to travel over to us. However, after only an hour all the ledgers were loaded up into their van and the paperwork was completed. The ledgers would then be checked back at the SHC. The Archivist was grateful to everyone for the considerable preparation work put in by CHAC staff and volunteers; particularly one volunteer which noted the details of each ledger on pink paper slips, placing these inside each front cover.

Volunteer help has also proven essential in the preparation of a Jane Austen-themed display as part of National Libraries Week. One of our costume volunteers suggested having images of costume in the CHAC Collection from the Jane Austen period (1775-1817) alongside quotes from the author, which mention these items of costume. This was a particularly enjoyable display to create because of the collaborative nature. Our volunteer wrote up the quotes and highlighted corresponding items from the collection. Staff then typed up these quotes into captions and scanned the relevant images of the costume.

The Nankeen trousers were particularly difficult to photograph as they are rather ‘bright’ white and made of a stout, cotton material. We initially tried to photograph them on a background of acid-free tissue. However, the camera did not seem to be able to focus on the monotone backing. Staff then suggested a black, plastizote sheet backdrop. This really proved effective as it provided a superb contrast to the white material.

We hope to have this display in Yeovil Library from Wednesday 11th October 2017.

Detail on the Nankeen Trousers

Nankeen trousers (1790-1820) Nankeen (Nankin) was a stout cotton, usually of brownish-yellow colour named after Nanking, its place of origin. It was sometimes used for footwear as well.

The Watsons, p.345 – Lord Osborne tells Emma Watson…”You should wear half-boots…Nothing sets off a neat ankle more than a half-boot; nankin galoshed with black looks very well..”

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Propelled to Preston

We have enjoyed an exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

One of the highlights was a visit from an enquirer interested in having some glass items identified. These fragments of bottle and window glass were unearthed in their garden in Preston Plucknett. Staff suggested bringing these in to be photographed. The photographs could then be emailed to the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) near Taunton, so they can provide an initial assessment. Sending ‘preparatory images’ is very useful for the FLO as they can gain some insight, instead of simply seeing the items ‘cold’ for the very first time. This also speeds up the identification process, which is essential when four finders are waiting to be seen.

CHAC staff also accept archaeological material for identification when the Somerset FLO is not actually present to send on to Taunton for identification. However, in this case, the FLO is due to be in Yeovil shortly and the enquirer aims to meet them in person on this occasion.

During the conversation, staff discovered that the enquirer was related to the owner of the propeller-driven car and even had some additional photographs of the car in action and interestingly, not so active!

The 2018 Celebrating Yeovil Calendar is now available at £6.00 each from Yeovil Tourist Information Centre, Petters Way; The Emporium, Princes Street and ourselves at the Community Heritage Access Centre, (01935) 462886.

 

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The original of this postcard is labelled “Preston Plucknett around 1925″ but can anyone tell us which direction the photographer was facing?

 

Community Highlights

We have enjoyed a busy and eventful week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Today we enjoyed the company of a lady organising a community history event at Queen Camel; a gentleman creating a photographic display for the Norton Sub Hamdon Festival in October 2017 and literally in the last few minutes, a farmer researching the Priory at Montacute.

The gentleman from ‘Norton’ was also a ‘Yeovilian’ and recounted a story of going to Vincent Street, Yeovil as a teenager to see a car powered by a propeller, which in his words, “was similar in principle to a hovercraft and designed he believed by a worker from Westland helicopters.”

We would be grateful if anyone can confirm this account please and even more significantly, actually provide documentary or photographic evidence!

The 2018 Yeovil Calendar will shortly be available.

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Another notable example from the costume collection!

Costume Change

We have enjoyed a busy and exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

One of the highlights this week was an impromptu visit from a local Scout Leader looking to book an evening tour for the Scout Group. He also explained his Father was in the car. His Father currently lives in France, but used to run a printing company in Yeovil. They enjoyed a 20 minute tour of the collection, before our own printing contact arrived with the final proof of the 2018 Yeovil Calendar.

Our volunteers have also helped us this week to check on aspects of the costume collection. Star items have featured a selection of purses of different designs, which clearly reflect a different age and style.

Best wishes to all for the Bank Holiday weekend.

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Some of the recent highlights from the costume collection, repacked by our volunteers. Condition photographs were taken to monitor any problems and provide a reference point against which to measure any further deterioration.

 

Order of the Garter

We have enjoyed a busy and active week so far at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

Staff have completed arranging our new annual exhibition at Yeovil Town Council Building in Union Street. This is entitled “Student’s Choice” and comprises the objects chosen by our group of Yeovil College University Centre students. These include a leather bag used to collect rent by a member of the Harris family and a small Vesta case with a tiny photograph advertising a local bicycle agent.

Staff and volunteers are also in the process of finalising the Yeovil 2018 Calendar with a few tweaks here and there and discussions over the front cover!

Staff will also be present at this weekend’s Wessex Truck Show with a historical photographic display of trucks around Yeovil from the 1950s to the 1980s. The aim is to use the truck theme as a channel to share and generate interest in local heritage and hopefully raise awareness of CHAC and the collections.

We also discovered a notable find during our volunteering day on Wednesday. Two volunteers help us to look after and monitor the costume collection. In one small box was a garter dating from the 18th century, which was in a rather poor state. We did not have a record of any previous condition on our database, so therefore completed a detailed analysis on this occasion.

Last week we reported on the excavations at Lufton Roman Villa but forgot to include the link to the Blog page. To rectify this, the Blog link is below:

https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/luftonarchaeology/

 

Collecting Mrs Maudslay

We have enjoyed a busy and exciting week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

Highlights so far have included an enquiry on the history of policing in Yeovil, from a former resident. Coincidentally, our current exhibition in Yeovil Town House is on the subject of historical crime and punishment, so this was a fairly quick enquiry to answer.

We have also received requests for assistance from Crewkerne Museum for their next annual exhibition and Ilchester Museum for their Norman-themed day.

A real gem of a story came in the donation of a pastel portrait. The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. Her maiden name was Dorothy Florence Fleming and then married Cyril Charles Maudslay, Director of the Maudslay Motor Co. They lived at Coker House, East Coker. Dorothy was very active in village affairs, holding committee meetings of the WI in Coker House and also giving out the prizes at the Yeovil Show. Dorothy was awarded an MBE in 1964.

The North Transept at East Coker Church belonged to the Maudslay Family until the Church took it over in 1985.

We understand the painting was sold at local Auctioneers in 1977 to a local family and then came to a neighbour of the donor. The neighbour passed away in December 2016 and the painting passed to a family member. The family member thought that our donor would like the painting and they then offered “Mrs Maudslay” to CHAC.

Staff enjoyed an exceedingly memorable morning meeting both the donor and the family member and sharing the fond memories the painting evoked. Both the donor and the family member were keen for CHAC to add the pastel portrait to the collection of paintings and artworks. Firstly, for the local person represented to be placed in a local context and secondly, also to highlight the significance of the existing portraits, which contain founders of the gloving industry, bankers, the founder of the first Yeovil Museum and even a Carnival King!

Staff had to explain, though, to colleagues when on the outward journey they had an empty car and then on their return, they had “collected Mrs Maudslay.”

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The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. We believe the portrait in pastel shows Dorothy around the age of 21 before her marriage – when Dorothy Florence Fleming.

Dorothy and her husband, Cyril Charles Maudslay, lived at Coker House, East Coker.

 

Patten of Life

We have enjoyed a busy and involving week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

So far this week, we have helped two students from Yeovil College University Centre with their project on Henry Stiby; discovered the background to Kingsbury Episcopi Time Travellers Group’s First World War Project and received the two supporting poles for the Horsington Friendly Society Banner.

In a busy upcoming diary, the date for Yeovil Library’s “Horrible Histories” event is due to be Tuesday 30th May 2017, 10am-1pm and we are due to be present with an initial plan at the moment entitled “What’s In The Box?”

One of the exciting highlights were three pairs of shoes, which came back off loan from Bruton Museum. As an Accredited Museum, CHAC can loan objects of interest to other local Accredited Museums. This raises the profile of CHAC and helps other museums to show a variety of different objects and photographs.

Bruton Museum has a changing, temporary display area called “Case Space.” CHAC recently loaned a pair of bright red Mary Quant plastic boots; a pair of ladies open-toed, wedge sandals and an intriguing pair of pattens. These look like a leather sandal on the top, with a large metal ring screwed to the wooden base, perhaps with the idea to walk over muddy ground. The fascinating element was contained in a handwritten note accompanying the pattens. This highlighted that the ‘shoes’ were made near Wedmore in 1920 for a lady; but the lady died before she could wear them.

Any more information on these would be gladly received – particularly if we have patten spelt correctly as some versions have one ‘T’ and some have two!

In another Bruton – Yeovil connection, during the visit of the Horsington Friendly Society donors, we talked about our recent Volunteer outing to Bruton Museum and one of the “star attractions” being John Steinbeck’s writing slope. As it turned out, the donor’s wife, typed up Steinbeck’s manuscripts when Steinbeck lived near Bruton and several pupils from the local school went to see the ‘Great American Author’ when they were actually studying “Of Mice and Men.”

Steinbeck’s love of Bruton is underlined that when passing away, his wife wrote a note with the question: “When were we happiest?” and Steinbeck is reputed to have answered by writing: “Bruton.”

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A pair of pattens (or patens?) made in Blackford, near Wedmore in 1920. More information and insights gratefully received!