Because my flight out of the UK was late at night, Cathy and I had a full day to kill on the way to Heathrow. She recommended we stop at the Snibston Discovery Museum, which is just off the motorway. I’d taken my tour group there in 2012, and we enjoyed not only the museum displays but behind-the-scenes study of the fabulous Symington corset collection. Cathy mentioned there was a new display in the costume section, so I readily agreed to the stop. We loaded the car, and I bade farewell to this beautiful corner of Sherwood Forest. It had been an enchanting weekend!
The Discovery Museum actually has the largest costume display outside of London, but it is tucked away behind a huge new neighborhood and is easy to overlook. It would really be a shame if it had to close down (there have been murmurs about doing so for a couple of years), especially as the Symington collection is world class and offers an incredible opportunity to those who wish to reproduce period undergarments authentically (even down to the floss designs used to embellish the corsets!). We strolled into an empty museum and had the costume display all to ourselves:
It is always interesting to read the display cards included with historical outfits, because they often give a clearer view of the curator’s or collector’s opinion than of actual facts. The new section of garments worn during WWI had a marquee containing a longish “tirade” of sorts against corsets, perpetuating many myths that should long since have been laid to rest. Oh, well… I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, given the conniption fits people had about Lily James’s corseted waist in “Cinderella” (which, as the designer noted, was an optical illusion created by the full tulle skirt). Still, a well-done display on the whole, and it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area!
The day clouded over as we headed further south toward Heathrow, and we stopped to enjoy a nice lunch on the way. The charming little pub we ate in was putting on a real English Christmas dinner, so we gladly dove in. It was delicious and really felt like a Dickensian touch to my holiday trip. (Thanks for the treat, Cathy!)
From Snibston to Heathrow, Cathy and I talked about the next tour and a possible December holiday tour, and I jotted down lots of notes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get everything together in time to fully book either tour in 2015, but Suzi Clarke and I have a brand new itinerary falling into place for 2016, and Cathy and I hope to pull off a December tour similar to my trip in 2014 as well. If you’re interested, be sure to check the main tour site for details, and drop me a line, because the waiting list fills quickly each time! Thanks for coming along for the ride through my blog. I will be traveling to the UK again this September to finalize details for the 2016 trip, and I’ll be sure to share the fun as I go!