one day in leicestershire

september 13: goodbye, bakewell. next stop: the symington collection of corsets in coalville at Snibston Discovery Museum. i sat with suzi clarke on the drive. i was worried i wouldn’t have much to offer in conversation, but she wanted to meet and talk with everyone on the tour. suzi told me how she started costuming when she was 40. i was really happy to hear that she discovered something at 40 and ran with it. she also happened to be really good at it. she asked me why i chose the trip. i told her i was a bit of an anglophile. when i was in college i read e.m. forster (merchant ivory’s film, A Room with a View, is my all time favorite). i liked the victorian time period for awhile too, but it wasn’t until 2007 i discovered jane austen and her books and movies. attending the promenade for the jane austen festival in bath seemed like a great reason to join the tour as well as making a regency costume and seeing the english countryside.

at snibston our group divided and took turns viewing the collection of corsets in the symington collection by the Market Harborough comany R. & W.H. Symington which started in the 1850’s. the room had tables with open boxes with corsets laying on tissue paper. we were allowed to take pics (as long as we credit them). there were about 20 corsets and other undergarments from that time period. i was impressed how the corsets were built and how beautiful they were. there was embroidery that decorated the boning and lace to embellish the edges. here are pics i took from at the Sinbston Discovery Museum of their Symington Collection:

i was enamored by two things: the embroidery samples for the corsets and the embroidery on some of the undergarments. how neat to have your name on your undergarments. i know it was out of necessity–you know whose were whose undergarments, but it was pretty too.

we broke for lunch: tea, sandwiches and dessert.

after the corsets i looked at their clothing exhibit. i found a cute 1920’s dress i would like to reproduce. there were also regency clothes and shoes and CC41 clothing. during world war II, people in england were given coupons to ration their clothing consumption. clothing was labeled: CC41 (civilian clothing, 1941). it was also when repurposing and reusing clothes was important.

once we were done viewing the collection we boarded the bus and arrived in leicester at the belmont hotel. our room was down a very blue, narrow hall with oddly placed steps. we had views of the new walk and church outside the window. we had the rest of the evening to explore. i went out on my own and called my husband to see how he was doing. i passed the nearby art museum which was closing for the day. i walked towards the city’s clock tower. there were brick-lined pedestrian areas and shops (mostly closed). there was bunting strung back and forth between the buildings. i stumbled into a regular looking entrance, but once i walked in i discovered it was actually a shopping center. i tried to shop (again) at Next, but i found out i’m a terrible shopper even in england. on my way back to the hotel i stopped at a £1 store and found the double lollies the kids asked me to bring back. i also stopped at tesco to pick up a wrap and smoothie for dinner (no Fitness cereal there either). the meals in bakewell were pretty substantial. it was nice to have a light meal. i took another walk in the evening closer to our hotel and wrote a few more postcards in the hotel room before settling into bed for the night.

our next destination: lacock village.


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