33C Windsor Street
Chertsey KT16 8AT
Tel: 01932 565 764
c/o Veronica Isaac (maternity cover period)
c/o Grace Evans: Permanent Keeper of Costume
The Olive Matthews Collection
This nationally significant collection of fashionable dress dating from the seventeenth century to the present day is housed at Chertsey Museum, Surrey. The core collection was assembled by Miss Olive Mary Matthews (1887-1979) and donated to the museum in 1972 the collection now amounts to in excess of 4,000 garments and accessories. Olive Matthews (1887-1979) grew up in Camden, building up the core of the dress collection from London antique markets in the 1920s and 1930s. She settled in 1939 in Virginia Water and became a knowledgeable collector of dress, textiles and related accessories, and left a significant historical collection. The Olive Matthews Trust was set up in 1969 to ensure that this important collection is preserved and displayed for public benefit. Trustees purchased the building, The Cedars, in 1972 working with the local authority to support the aims of the Trust within the Museum Service.
This spectacular collection features many items of national significance. It contains over 4,000 men's, women's and children's fashionable clothes dating from c.1700 to the present. They help to reveal the history of dress and textiles throughout the centuries, highlighting changes in style, fashion and fabrics. Historic and contemporary fashions from the prestigious Olive Matthews Collection are featured in changing exhibitions devoted to different themes in this gallery. Dress and accessories selected for display include male and female full length garments, shoes, hats and jewellery. They highlight some of the finest treasures in the dress collection.
Fashion in Focus 1600-2009: Treasures from the Olive Matthews Collection, by Grace Evans was published in May of this year. This book provides an illustrated guide to the highlights of the collection.