Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex TN39 3HL
Tel: 01424 787950
The costume collection and museum was founded by Christine Porch and Isobel Overton and originated from the Thalia Theatrical School of Drama in approximately 1972. The Costume Museum was located in Manor Gardens and housed in what was the old stable block. The collection was merged with that of Bexhill Museum. It is now housed in the brand new wing of the museum, opened by Eddie Izzard after a £2million refurbishment in July 2009, which funded the creation of our new social and dress history gallery as well as workshop and rolling storage space. The new gallery includes temporary, uncased exhibition space , where contemporary dress is frequently displayed. An education room is also available and used for different events ranging from Adult Education, W.I. and handling sessions of lace and costume for students, specialists and school children.
The costume collection contains 1000's of garments and accessories, including a late 18th century elaborately embroidered gentleman’s coat, a rare mourning calash, boned corsets, Romantic period, Victorian, Edwardian and inter-war dress. There is also a large accessories collection - boots - shoes – parasols – fans – lace – shawls and hats. One treasure is a mourning dress worn by Queen Victoria, in 1892 after the death of her grandson, Prince Albert, the Duke of Clarence, Dress worn by The Right Honourable Winston Churchill when he was aged four and a home-made League of Health and Beauty’ uniform from the mid 1930s.