Clothes dating from the time of Jane Austen

Chinese tapestry
Chinese tapestry

The costume collection contains approximately 200 dresses, mainly Victorian and Edwardian in date, with some early examples from the start of the 1800’s. The quality and condition of the collection is of a high standard with a wide selection of fabrics including glazed cotton, lawn, poplin, silk taffeta, linen, chambrey and satin. Many are highly patterned. Some of the highlights of the collection are velvet capes with intricate beaded designs, unusual art and crafts style skirts and dresses, 1920’s bathing Clothes and a late Victorian heavily beaded mourning dress worn as a wedding garment. Accompanying accessories include a selection of fans, gloves, parasols, undergarments and Victorian hats of many styles including straw bonnets and lace caps. There is a large range of lace including Maltese and Nottingham, Chantilly, some handmade. A large proportion of the lace is black. Although there are few children’s garments, the museum has many types of baptism and christening gowns. Items of local interest include garments labelled to Welburn Brothers shop, Bridge Street, Whitby, Staithes bonnets and fisherman’s ganseys.

Victorian costume Victorian costume
Various Victorian Clothes

Lady Harrowing's Court Dress
Lady Harrowing’s Court Dress in 1927

To learn more about Whitby textiles in general read Viveka Hansens book on the Textile History of Whitby