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Friday, 1 March 2013

Sepia Saturday - Skirts on Show

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.  
We have boxes, tables, machines and a worker featured in this week's prompt, but I decided to focus on skirts. 
 A close look will reveal why Dorothy Chisholm is up a ladder, showing off her long skirt.   - she is pruning the plant on the wall. Dorothy was engaged to my great uncle John Danson of Poulton-le-fylde, Lancashire. who was a widower with a young daughter.  Sadly in 1917 John died  at Tidworth whilst in army training.    The Danson family remained in contact with Dorothy throughout her life  and I have vague memories of visiting her with my mother, when she was living in a bedsit - one of the many women whose lives were changed by the war.

Here is my husband's great aunt Violet Hibbert with her fiance Frank King.  Violet is wearing a distinctive skirt with a broad ruched hem and arrow insets.  Violet and Frank, of South Shields, County Durham  married in 1915.  

"Bobbing, Shingling, Marcel Waving and Perming", was the promise of hairdresser "Elise" whose business in Blackpool, Lancashire was advertised in this lovely evocative 1920's "blotter".  I love the elegant green dress with its  draped skirt.    
Elise's real name was Elsie Oldham, my mother's second cousin, but perhaps the French adaptation was regarded as more appropriate for a hairdresser.  The business was conducted from the rather less glamorous setting of her home (below) with the large adverts in the windows and on the pole outside.                                                     


Onto the 1930's and below in their stylish midi skirts  are my mother Kathleen Danson (left) with her sister Edith.  My mother was apprenticed as a tailoress at the age of 14 and both sisters made their own clothes on a treadle machine at home, which did not have electricity until the late 1950's. 

Forty  years on to 1971 and here am I sporting a mini skirt.    I am standing at the  stone marking the border of Scotland and England, high on the Cheviot Hills,  10 miles south of the border town of Jedburgh.

How styles in skirts have changed !  
Click HERE to see contributions from fellow bloggers.


  1. That's a sad little story about Dorothy, but I do like the picture of her working away at that vine. Now Violet--did her skirt have pockets or was she sitting on her hand??

  2. I do like the Violet and Frank picture very much, and I love her skirt, pocket or no pocket!

  3. Oh goodness this was fun, and we both ran slightly close in our themes! Only difference is- well you'll have to check it out!

  4. Those insets, which I've often seen on dresses of that and earlier eras, always remind me of the tabs on file dividers.

    Dorothy was indeed one of many whose lives changed course drastically due to the Great war. My grandfather married his sweetheart on one of his leaves home during the war, only to arrive home on his next leave in time to see her succumb to the influenza epidemic.

    A second post this week to discuss treadle sewing machines!

  5. I liked the way you developed your theme Sue.

  6. Some of today's skirts are even shorter than your mini; one wonders whether they are a skirt at all. South Shields brings back memories of fierce hockey battles for me.

  7. Such a fun post Susan. I luv luv luv long skirts and how gorgeous is your husband's Aunt Violet's skirt, eh?
    I smiled at the mini skirt remembering how careful we had to be to not show our "knickers" when getting in and out of a car, or dancing "the twist". "Knees together, Catherine" my mother would say :-)
    Terrific photos... thanks for sharing.

  8. A great selection of images, many of which seem familiar because I have similar poses of similar years in my collection. As for that last one, I have a matching picture of me (aged about the same age as you) stood against that same boundary sign.

  9. Loved all the skirts. Your mother and aunt were very stylish and well accessorized.

  10. I think the fashions of the 1930s look more modern than the fashions of the early 1970s.

  11. The ankle length hemline allowed safe ladder climbing but the hem of an 1880s dress would not. But neither would the hem of the 1970s but for an entirely different reason!

  12. Lovely photos of such diverse skirts Sue. I especially like Violet's but yes it's odd that one hand is hidden...did she have something wrong with it? I wonder why if it was an engagement photo that her ring finger was not prominently displayed. So sad about the war time losses and their profound impact on a generation of women.


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