Well, the little time I’ve had online has been spent working on this year’s tour instead of formatting pictures from last year’s! Time is flying by far too quickly. In less than seven months, we’ll be in Bath, Winchester, Chawton, and London, touring Jane Austen sites and viewing historical fashions up close.
Thursday we packed up and traveled to Coalville in Leicestershire to enjoy up-close study of items in the Symington Costume Collection. Symington was a corset factory near Market Harborough from the 1840s on, and sample corsets were preserved in mint condition, including their boxes and advertising.
Looks like it is going to be one FUN trip! I’ll be posting details about our itinerary over the next few months, especially as I want to showcase wonderful Manchester and Derbyshire! We will have a short London extension at the end of this tour, but London will not be the focus, especially as the V&A’s costume collection is not available for private study until they finish moving it to its new storage facility. So we’re headed northward to enjoy new stops, and we’ll bookend with the opening of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath with its Costumed Promenade–always a blast!
We were once again greeted by the sun as we rose to meet the day. Truly, the weather this trip was nothing short of spectacular. The temperature was neither too warm nor too chilly, and we had a lovely breeze all day. After a yummy breakfast at our hotel, we headed to the Gloucester Road underground station for our journey to St. Paul’s and walk to the Museum of London.
Well, we’re all here and accounted for (though finding folks at Heathrow this morning proved a bit of a challenge!). We went straight to the Victoria & Albert Museum for luncheon, then had a couple of hours free to see exhibits before meeting up for our private study session in the costume storage area. As with the Museum of London last year, we are not allowed to share photos of the objects displayed, but I can tell you we did lots of ooohing and ahhing!
Ever since I can remember, my parents served hot tea–not always a full afternoon tea, but definitely the steaming cupful with milk and sugar. Mom and Dad brought this tradition home with them from England on an early visit when I was little, and it stuck fast. Having grown up with “teatime,” I just naturally kept to it when I was married, and now I love to share it with my own children. Some days it’s just a hot cup during afternoon quiet time without ceremony. But, every now and again, we pull out all the stops and put on full afternoon tea. Today was such a day!
While we were in England, I had two different people (both of whom I met while on the tour but who were not in our group) ask me why we’d bring over a group to study clothing, of all things. Weren’t there far more important things we could have devoted our time to? Clothing just seemed, well, frivolous–lacking any real depth.
Naturally, I beg to differ. And so allow me to give you the philosophical underpinnings of my lifelong passion for the study of historical fashion (particularly women’s clothing) through the centuries.