Tag Archives: Holdens

Welcome to Fashionable Yorkshire

From 1600s splendour to 1970s style, a new exhibition at Lotherton Hall is displaying wonderful dresses worn by Yorkshire women.  Visitors can discover what clothes meant to these women and what we can learn about society from their fashion choices.

Dress belonging to Mary Holden Illingworth. Designed by Worth

Dress by Worth of Paris, worn by Mary Holden Illingworth in 1881

One of these women is Mary Holden Illingworth, daughter of Bradford wool magnate Sir Isaac Holden.  Mary obviously loved fashion and several of her luxurious and stylish outfits have survived.  The image above shows a dress she bought in 1881 for her daughter’s wedding.  It was created by the famous Parisian designer, Worth, and features an opulent fabric, fringing and a train.

Special Collections has loaned Mary’s book of travels and letters she wrote to her sister Maggie which include lots of detail about her interest in fashion.  Kay Eggleston blogged about padding mannequins so they were the right shape to fit the clothes on show.   Kay discusses how Mary’s figure changed during her life: from a slender young girl to the fuller-figured mother of five children who wore the Worth dress.  But, as Kay observes, always stylish!

Fashionable Yorkshire is on show 17 March-31 December 2017.  Find out more on the exhibition webpage.  This BBC news story and this from the Yorkshire Post include fantastic images of the costumes and their owners.

Untangling the Holdens again

Back in June, I mentioned that we were part of a giant group of libraries bidding for funds to digitise industrial archives, including the Holden Papers.  Such archives are often particularly difficult for users to access and comprehend, with information locked away in tricky and fragile formats.  Unfortunately, I heard this week that our bid was unsuccessful.  There was huge competition for the funding: I gather that there were 67 other bids!  Which just goes to show how much wonderful material is hidden from public view for lack of funding.

Anyway, it’s disappointing, but the process of applying did bring us lots of new contacts: we hope to continue to work together.  Meanwhile I’m reflecting on how to continue the inhouse phase of the Untangling project.  While not on the scale of the work for which we applied, this super new list will really help us to help readers understand this major archive.