Mums at Museum

Today we presented a ‘Mother’s Day Costume Talk’ for the Woodhorn Museum and Heritage Centre in Ashington.

It was a lovely venue – a beautiful light and airy function room with excellent facilities next to the  amazing ‘Cutter’ building.

Inspired by the monster coal cutting machines once used deep underground the new Cutter building at Woodhorn just outside Ashington is the place to come to learn about the history of Northumberland. The site of the former colliery has recently undergone a £16 million programme of work to turn it into a major heritage and tourism venue.

We were worried as there was a severe snowfall which may have affected our travel this morning. However I am pleased to say the snow disappeared and the sun shone just before we were due to leave. It proved to be a popular event – we were sold out!.

My husband Mick appeared in his usual guise as King Henry VIII in full regalia. Mick was rather taken aback when one of the ladies asked him if he could disrobe so she could see all his garments however  he politely declined.  As his wife I added “better not, believe me, he looks nicer with all his clothes on”.

Helen our lovely model wore one of her favourite costumes at short notice – a very ornate Gold Silk Elizabeth I Gown with gold lace edged elaborate ruff. Helen now lives in the South of England – she travelled North unexpectedly yesterday and kindly agreed to wear my Gown for the talk – thank you Helen. I have recently created a beautiful hand embroidered stomacher for the Elizabeth gown  and this was the first time it has been seen in public.

We met a lot of fellow ‘costume’ enthusiasts as well as a number of old friends.

One of the costumes included in my talk were clothes worn by Mary Queen of Scots for her execution at Fotheringay Castle.  A lovely lady called Cynthia told me a very interesting story about Mary Queen of Scots and the ‘Haunting at Oundle’.

She said “We stayed in the main inn in Oundle which is on the crossroads in the centre of town. The staircase within this building was overly impressive for such a small inn within a little town. It was wide staircase made with heavy dark wood, the carving of it displaying the wealth that must have been needed to have it made. Being a curious nature I asked about the staircase as I felt it did not fit in with the rest of the building, to the lady who owned the Inn. The Inn keeper told me with large eyes that it was the staircase from “Fotheringay” castle and she rounded “Its haunted!”.

I asked her to explain further as this sort of thing interested me. “It’s the staircase”, she said “That led to the scaffold where Mary was beheaded, and “she continued, “You can hear an axe fall and the sound of a dog whimpering!” We went the next day and finally found the place where Mary’s life ended. All that remains is a hill and where once a Moat must have stood. The castle and any trace dismantled in case it became a place of insurrection in the many subsequent turbulent years.”

Of course the dog whimpering was Geddon – Mary’s pet terrier who had accompanied her to her execution. Thank you very much for this amazing story Cynthia – I really enjoying hearing stories about my favourite historical characters.

We are really looking forward to presenting our next event at the Woodhorn Museum and Heritage Centre. It is a ‘Period Costume Fashion Show ‘with historical music to be presented on 6th May at 12 noon and 2pm.

My exciting Tudor Fashion Show will include a number of superb costumes I have designed worn by live models. They are accompanied by beautiful period music, a brief history of each historical figure and a talk about the design and construction of each costume. Our show includes Mary Queen of Scots taking off her velvet robes to reveal her elegant execution gown. Part of a series of exciting costume events hosted by Woodhorn Heritage Centre and Museum in 2013.

If anyone missed our talk on 10th March  –  due to popular demand we have been asked to present it  again.   My Costume Talk will take place at the Woodhorn Museum on Sunday 2nd June 2013 at 2pm.

Booking is advised – please contact the Woodhorn Museum and Archive for details.







2 Responses to “Mums at Museum”

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  1. Diana says:

    I am contacting my group and hope we will be able to book you – your talk sounds really excellent and costumes look superb – I am sure all the ladies in our WI group will love it!

  2. Marian says:

    Have enjoyed reading about your talk – sounds very interesting especially the part about the haunted staircase as I love Mary Queen of Scots. Love your costumes too.

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