Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Costumes and curios in Fairlynch's Jubilee display

Budleigh Salterton is not generally spoken of as having been officially honoured by many royal visitors who stayed in the town, although HRH The Prince of Wales - later to become Edward VIII -  is recorded as having visited the town in 1914 and some years later, in May 1921, he played on the East Devon Golf Club's course.


However, judging by what the author R.F. Delderfield wrote in his essay 'Budleigh Salterton and Mrs.Simpson', published in his Overture for Beginners (1970) it's likely that after 1936 the town would not have wanted to remember that particular visitor.  

And the romantic but furtive walks made by the late Diana, Princess of Wales along Budleigh beach, as described in Anna Pasternak's book Princess in Love, were never publicised by local residents.

Nearby Sidmouth on the other hand boasts of its past glories associated with Queen Victoria's during her stay as a baby in the town, in names such as the Royal Glen Hotel and Connaught Gardens.

But among the thousands of items stored in Fairlynch Museum's costume collection there are many precious garments associated with royalty and the Queen's Jubilee this year has provided the perfect opportunity for them to be displayed to the public in the Museum's 2012 exhibition which opens from Friday 6 April.

Most of these garments were owned by Ellen Roberts, who was appointed dresser to Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925) on the latter's marriage in 1863 to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the heir-apparent of Queen Victoria.

Seen here, above right, as Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901 she became generally popular; her style of dress and bearing were copied by fashion-conscious women. Her husband became King as Edward VII on the death of Queen Victoria.

Ellen Roberts kept her appointment as dresser to the Princess of Wales until her own marriage in 1875. Her father was in charge of the household at Windsor Castle and her aunt was head nurse in Queen Victoria's nursery.  

Shown left is a bonnet of the Prince of Wales, later King George V, and Princess Victoria's shoes 


Right: The Prince of Wales's sash and Princess Victoria's glove

The various garments which would have been worn by princes and princesses of Queen Victoria's day were donated to Fairlynch by Ellen Roberts' great-niece, Miss Joy Lennox.  

Above: Princess Victoria's doll's dress 

While such clothing with its royal associations is displayed in the Costumes Room, the Local History Room, also on the first floor of the Museum has a showcase devoted to various royal memorabilia including some splendid commemorative mugs, pictured above.

All in all, you could say that the Museum has certainly done its duty to mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. All it needs now is a royal visitor to come and congratulate it.

This post links to an item at http://www.devonmuseums.net/Costumes-and-curios-in-Museum-Jubilee-display/Latest-News/Fairlynch-Museum/Museum-News/

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