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.
The Exhibition in the costume gallery is normaly changed annualy, each exhibition featuring a different range of artifacts from the collection. The following photographs show garments presented in some recent years exhibitions.
Victorian Costumes in the Seaside Exhibition 2018
Black Satin Wedding Dress 1870
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