Costume from the 1920s, 1940s and 1960s.
The case contains a collection of recent donations to the museum costume stock. Exhibits range from a graceful evening gown to a sturdy woollen overcoat with a long story and two trips across the Atlantic in its history.
The 1920s are represented firstly by a blush pink silk chiffon beaded cocktail dress. The silk is badly shattered, but the beads still sparkle. And in complete contrast a barathea (worsted wool) overcoat that started life as a mans coat in 1928 and was later altered and worn by the daughter of the original owner in Canada until 2022.
Likewise the 1940s boast two items in the display. There is a cyclamen pink wedding dress and veil from 1940 and a babies dress, complete with CC41 utility label, that was used as a christening dress by two sisters.
The 1960s white Grecian style draped evening gown has diamenté embellishments at the bodice and on the hip. This gown came from Barrance & Ford, a long gone dress shop in Brighton.
To accompany the clothes we have a wonderful display of photographs of the owners and wearers of the majority of the items. So you can see what the wedding dress, coat and babies dress all looked like on the owners.
All of these items enrich the Henfield Costume collection and help to illustrate what people wore to keep warm, get married, get christened and go out for the evening in the 20th century.
Curator of Costume
On permanent display
The vivid Victorian uniforms pictured were all made in the 1860s by the long established Longley Brothers Drapers who were based at Bank House in Henfield High Street.
On display are the uniforms of Surgeon Lieutenant (and well known Henfield doctor), Adolphus Caudle the Younger (1860s), in addition to that of Sergeant George Roberts (1868). With recruits having to fund their own uniform and rifle, joining the Volunteers was an aspiration beyond the average Henfield labourer and mainly open to professional men.
A Victorian precursor to the modern Territorials, the Rifle Volunteers were replaced by the Territorials during the army reforms that took place in the years after the Boer War.