Northern Society of Costume and Textiles
Costume Treasures of a Provincial Town
The Well Baptish Church, Retford, Nottinghamshire


Saturday, 21 September, 2019

The Well Baptist Church, Hospital Road

Retford, Nottinghamshire,  DN22 7BD


The day was presented by the local museum creator, giving us a more realistic understanding of the people who embarked on the journey across the Atlantic in the early 17th century.

The root of the problem was Henry VIII, a catholic, followed by a protestant, followed by a catholic, followed by a protestant, resulting in religious turmoil. Anyone opposing  the monarch was seen as a  heretic punishable by burning at the stake.

There were several preachers in local churches who sympathised with these mainly young adults. They were generally not the "Fathers", old with long white beards, but people with professions and trades, or merchants. Initially they were not permitted to leave the country but eventually went to Holland and subsequently left there on board the Mayflower.

The museum has created replica costumes for groups of visiting children to dress up in for role play. The original fabrics and construction methods cannot be replicated for reasons of durability, cost, maintenance, ease of construction and hygiene. Considerations include the period in history, the status being depicted and the source of styles. The period selected was 1620's, the status was that of ordinary people as it was not possible to take assets or possessions, and the sources were contemporary portraits and woodcuts.

The museum has purchased some replica costumes, secondhand, from Hampton Court Palace. Through these we were shown the various layers of clothing that would have been worn. Items of clothing were considered an important part of a persons assets upon death. There was a copy of a fascinating list of clothing, bedding, furnishing and personal items that formed part of a will.

In the afternoon we had a presentation on photographer Steven Pegler who was the first person to develop the technique of colour photography for fashion plates.

This was followed by a display of garments from the museum collection.

We enjoyed a really superb lunch provided by local caterers, everything homemade and fabulously fresh.

Lynn Beech