For a small local museum, we have an interesting and varied collection with some stand out pieces.
A mid 1700s Spitalfield silk sack back dress is currently on display in the Living in North Herts Gallery. The collection also includes a gentleman’s dove grey suit of about 1740, lined with shocking pink, and several printed and embroidered waistcoats of similar vintage.
We have good examples of dresses from 1800 to 1920 including muslins, and printed cottons of the 1820s. We hold a selection of fine Edwardian and early twentieth century costume, including some examples of “rational dress”, thanks to Letchworth Museum’s collection of early Garden City costume.
There is an interesting but small selection of military costume from the Hertfordshire Yeomanry.
For those who are interested in men’s fashion from the mid twentieth century, we have a wonderful demob suit with intricate and unusual piecing of the trousers. This is currently on display in the Living in North Herts Gallery.
Most notable in our collection of underwear is a pair of silk stays or “jumps” dating from 1795-1800, which show a change in dress at this time. A slightly earlier pair of stays (from 1780 to 1800) is in wonderful condition, given their age and the then thriving second hand market.