Last week I went on the archive catalogue training course with some volunteers, held by Ally and Jane, and ended up feeling like a kid at Christmas when we were shown around the Collections Store.
This magical treasure trove holds all the objects in our vast collection, and as I was wandering around beginning to get slightly over excited, a particular box caught my eye…
Ally very kindly indulged me and inside the box was none other than a beautifully ornate jacket, which we are assuming is Turkish in origin.
‘What is such an object doing in the Collections Store of an eighteenth-century cotton mill?’ I hear you ask. Well back in the 1970s when the property was turned into a museum, up in the attic of the Mill hundreds of objects that belonged to the Greg family were found stored away, including the bird eggs Ally told you about a few months ago and this gorgeous jacket.
It seems that the jacket was part of the Greg family’s fancy dress collection, which would tie in with the newly found knowledge that they held plays in winter up at Norcliffe Hall. The jacket is made from white cotton, and the brocade is gold coloured cotton, as is the lining. We don’t know when this jacket or any of the other fancy dress items date from but we can make a safe guess at them being 19th century. We thought that perhaps one of the Greg’s brought them back from their travels abroad, but as yet we have no proof to back up this theory – hopefully the cataloguing may throw up an answer.
The slippers pictured above belong to a three-piece Middle Eastern costume. They are made of royal blue velvet with gold brocade and a leather lining.
The slippers go with an undershirt, a jacket and a pair of pantaloons that measure 1.2m wide! The pantaloons are made of blue silk, stitched with gilt metal thread and have a drawstring waist.
Personally, I hope that the costume was for Edward Hyde Greg, purely for the comical image of seeing him and his magnificent moustache out of his usual suit and overcoat and in these fabulous pantaloons.
If anyone can shed any light on the date of these items or the country of origin please get in touch in the comments below, as neither Ally or myself are experts in this area!
Next week Ally and I will be bringing you another post from the collection which explores an object that was useful to both the workers and the Gregs…