By Jenny Gibson

Colne Valley Museum is bringing out some of the finest 19th century clothing from its extensive archives for a new exhibition.

Classics of Colne Valley Museum Costume will run for the month of July – and feature a selection of garments that local Victorians would have worn for ‘best’ such as weddings, church and other such gatherings.

Volunteers at the Golcar museum are still sifting and sorting through carefully packed artefacts in tissue-lined boxes, to decide what to present to the public.

The selection is likely to include day dresses, a bridal gown and accessories plus shoes, bags, scarves and hats. A man’s frock coat made of llama wool, a Lurex-lined cape and a little boy’s velvet suit are on the shortlist.

Also on show will be two beautiful reproduction outfits by valley costume designer Annie Dearman, who has long crafted clothes for theatre. They are modelled here by local women Evie Price and Laurie Beckett.

Collections manager at the museum, Anne Hodge, said: “We have some amazing items in our archives, handed down through families and donated to us over the decades.

“It’s been a couple of years since we staged a fashion exhibition. We love to bring these beautiful garments out of storage and put them on show, for people to see.”

Anne continued: “New donations are becoming less frequent as not much clothing from the Victorian era lives on. Fabric perishes, and we have a lot of items in our collection that are very delicate and often damaged, so this display will be very special.

“Typically, the clothes that people would have worn for best are the ones that come to us. Anything more everyday would have been worn until threadbare and then perhaps turned into rag rugs or cleaning cloths.”

The museum is open on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays 12pm to 4pm. Entry is £5 for adults and free for children.

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