Bringing the past to life is an important part of the Bygone BeachComber’s project. Using postcards, photographs and personal testimonies, this website aims to provide users with a glimpse of the rich and colourful history of Cleethorpes as a tourist destination since the late 1800s. And whilst it’s nice to read the personal stories and view the photographs of people who have visited the resort, we know that the best way to appreciate what life was like during a particular time period, is to experience it for yourself. Following a trip to the Arts Accredited North East Lincolnshire Council Museum, the Bygone BeachComber’s team were inspired to try and do just that.
North East Lincolnshire Council Museum service has on display a number of traditional ladies and men’s clothing dating back to the late 1800s. Unfortunately, the clothing, which can only be handled wearing gloves, cannot be borrowed or removed from the museum, therefore limiting the number of people who could view them. As a result, the team were inspired to commission local dressmaker, Elizabeth Evan’s, to create replica versions of the costumes on display in the museum. Elizabeth has been charged with creating a traditional Ladies outfit from the 1900s, a ladies Gingham costume from the 1950s, two men’s swimming costumes and a pirate outfit. All of the outfits will be machine washable, elasticated, and made using high-quality fabrics representative of each particular era, to ensure durability and authenticity.
Ladies Dress the 1900s
When creating this replica ladies dress from the 1900s, Elizabeth tried to ensure it’s authenticity by using the same materials (cotton) that would have been used had the dress been made more than a century ago. Whilst the overall look of the replica dress is true to the time period, there are two modern adaptations. Firstly, the embroidery on the dress has been done using a machine. Obviously sewing machines did not exist during this time and so the embroidery would have been hand-stitched. The second modern-day difference is that the edges of the garment have been overlocked to ensure that the edges are neat.
Traditional 1950s Ladies Gingham Swimming Costume
After seeing an original Gingham ladies swimming costume from the 1950s, Elizabeth created the emerald green replica version that you can see on the left.
The smocking on the costume is the same as it would be had it been made during the 1950s. The costume should have a zip on the back but unfortunately a zip befitting of the time period could not be found.
Traditional Gentleman’s Swimming Suit from the 1920s
This costume is a replica of a traditional gentleman’s swimming costume from the 1920s. Traditionally, this swimming costume would have been hand-knitted and tightly woven to create the horizontal lines shown. The major difference between an authentic 1920s gentleman’s costume and the one pictured, is that rather than being hand-knitted, this costume is made from Ponteroma. Again, this cosume, like the others, is at its edges, finished using overlocking to ensure it has a neat overall finish.
Second Gentleman’s Swimming Costume
Speaking about her involvement with the project Elizabeth said: “Ive found the Bygone Beachcombers project very interesting and it has been lovely to be a part of it. I create theatrical costumes, usually ballet dresses and tutus. Upon getting involved with the project I was very intrigued to find out North East Lincolnshire has a costume museum with up to 4,000 pieces of costume and it would be fantastic to see some of them go on display. I’ve had to do research to be able to create the replica costumes for each of the time given time periods and have tried to ensure that they are as authentic as possible. I’ve really enjoyed making the costumes and feel that they help to tell about each of their time periods using visual arts”.