This listing has been compiled by Prof Lou Taylor and Dr Charlotte Nicklas, and was achieved only through the generous help of all curators and managers whose collections are introduced here. It was launched on the occasion of the Costume Society's Annual Symposium at Eastbourne in July 2011, aiming to celebrate and publicise the wealth and richness of museum and other dress/textiles collections in the South, South East and South West of England.
We stress that all images are copyrighted to the museums which own these artefacts and that requests for reproduction permission rights must be made directly to curators or museum managers.
This listing provides key evidence of the cultural significance and historical importance of these collections. Whilst some are well known, others are not, yet all contain precious objects of local, regional and national significances, and research indicates that every one of the collections listed here is rich in significant examples which are just as well worth studying as more internationally known collections.
Image: A May Day Garland wood engraving by David Jones c. 1925, St Dominic's Press. Reproduced with kind permission from Ditchling Museum.
1000's of garments and accessories, including a late 18th century embroidered gentleman’s coat, a rare mourning calash and boned corsets
Garments and accessories from 18th century to present day including 1950s evening English couture gowns and a rare collection of renegade dress
Items include a 1830s waistcoat, dress maker patterns from the 1930s and a collection of original cotton print designs made in Manchester
Small collection of dress and textiles, including embroideries, head scarves, shawls, one dress c.1913, a Persian coat and a Uzbek robe
Over 4,000 men's, women's and children's fashionable clothes dating from c.1700 to the present
Reopening at the end of 2012, this rich collection of art, craft and applied art reflects Ditchling's important place in 20th century art and craft
Comprises over 500 items and spans two centuries, ranging from the Regency period to the post-war Britain
22,000 dress and textile items ranging from the 17th century to present day. Earliest pieces include embroidery, raised work and samplers
Collections comprise Egyptian and Greek antiquities, English watercolours, modern British paintings, some sculpture, printed books and natural history
Impressive collection of world dress, especially North American India garments, weapons etc. plus four large collections of artefacts and photographs
Large costume collection ranging from the late 1500s to the 1990s, with the focus on Victorian and early to mid-Twentieth Century garments
Stages exhibitions, lectures and members' meetings on collecting, identifying and conserving garments. 1000-plus items from 18th Century onwards
Large collection of period dress and accessories dating from the mid-19th Century, including may examples of stage costume
8,000 items of costume and dress accessories. including a chronological progression of the changing shape of women's dress from 1800 to 2000
1000 pieces including crinolines, ball gowns, hunting coats, hats, mourning wear, swimwear, underwear and debutante gowns
Vast natural history collection and cultural objects from Asia and Africa including ceramics, weapons, clothing, textiles and jewellery
Clothes related to the local history of Salisbury including Wiltshire volunteer militia uniforms, plus 18th and 19th Century ladies dresses
After £50,000 worth of fund raising and 1,300 hours of conservation work, The Beetle Wing Dress c.1888 is finally back on public display
Costume exhibitions take place once a year and themes explored include wedding costume, beachwear and evening dress from various decades
A wide range of historical time periods reflected - from a Tudor embroidered cap through to recent items made by local manufacturers
Collection of dress, letters, song sheets, records, photos, show scripts, posters that belonged to the comediennes Elsie and Doris Waters
The society runs many properties including two which contain specific, small collections of local dress and textiles, some of it on permanent display
1000's items of women's, men's and children's dress dating from c.1650 to the end of the 20th century
Collection boasts 7,500 pieces including many beautiful evening gowns and a good number of beaded dresses from the 1920s
30,000 objects in this collection. Costume and textiles include skirts, underwear and accessories. Also domestic and decorative textiles
800 regional, rural costumes from Eastern and Northern European countries including Hungary, Sweden, Romania, Russia and Norway
The museum re-opens with new galleries on 16 December 2011. Lace, dress and accessories dating from 17th to the 20th Century will be shown