Gallery of Costume Manchester A few weekends back I took a trip to the Gallery of Costume in Platt Fields Manchester with my daughter. I’ve been meaning to take a visit since it was re-furbished a couple of years ago as it is only a short bus ride from home. The collection has costumes from the 1600’s through to the present day.
Most of the historical items were worn by the well off, many of the garments have come from the families of wealthy Manchester based merchants.
My daughter instantly recognised the suffragette dress as ‘just like Mrs Banks’ from Mary Poppins. The displays were set out in decades and went right up to the present day with designer and ready to wear garments. The designer in focus at our visit was Christian Dior, exhibiting dresses from 1947 – 1957.
The gallery is spread over two floors in a grand old house in Platt Fields just a short bus ride from the centre of town and 5 minutes further on than the Whitworth art gallery. It’s quite compact but just right to hold the interest of a six year old who can get a bit spooked by mannequins.
There was also a fabulous collection of buttons which had been the life work of a couple called the Merediths. There is over 100,000 buttons collected over 30 years. They had opened their own button museum in 1988 but the collection was bought by the gallery in 2004 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
There was a lovely shop which had some fabulous Vogue books and postcards of the many memorable costumes. I bought two small books, ‘The Cotton Industry’ and ‘British Working Dress 1750 – 1950’. Both published by Shire Library.
The Christian Dior exhibition has now finished and the next designer in focus is Ossie Clarke 1967 – 1977. Running from the 30th January until 29th June.