Northern Society of Costume and Textiles
The Georgian Gentleman
Cawthorne Village Hall, Nr Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Saturday, 30th June 2018

'More about the Georgians...’


Cawthorne Village Hall,

Tivy Dale Road, Cawthorne, Barnsley S75 4EH

We visited the delightful village of Cawthorne for our second Georgian themed day following the previous meeting about the Georgian lady.
The speaker was Dr. David Allen who has a varied and distinguished career. Dr. Allen's enthusiasm for his subject was infectious from the start when he encouraged us to handle the wonderful items he displayed to enable us to gain
a full appreciation.
He told us about two men who were neighbours living in Norfolk, John Custance and a rector James Woodford, the later leaving detailed diaries. These were prominent men whose families socialised and so had ample opportunity to display their wealth and status.
Dr, Allen's items included many silver/gilt pieces, embroideries, waistcoats, shoes, miniatures, magazines, books and buckles. He described how status would be displayed with beautifully crafted snuff boxes, patch boxes and tiny silver boxes which opened to show a delicate grill beneath which would be placed a pleasant smelling substance that would disguise body odour during conversations! When dining out Georgians would take personal items such as nutmeg graters to disguise rotten food. They had wonderfully ingenious folding cutlery and tooth brushes with removable heads.
The waistcoats from around 1770 showed exquisite embroidery and decorated buttons. We learnt about gender specific books and magazines published monthly containing fabric samples for fashionable furniture, fashion plates and song sheets.
To give a balanced view Dr Allen told how the curse of the time was alcohol. It was widely believed that alcohol was a positive medical remedy.
Dr Allen gave a fascinating presentation that was informative and amusing. He told us about other aspects of Georgian living in a very fluent and knowledgeable manner giving us a great day.
We enjoyed our usual sociable lunch break with cold meats, salmon and salads followed by a selection of cakes. Thanks to the committee for their organising and "back room" efforts with refreshments and ensuring the day generally ran smoothly.