Blandford’s world famous Fashion Museum displays a unique and beautifully presented collection of period costumes dating from the early 18th century to the 1970s. The Museum, with its wonderful traditional tea-room and friendly volunteer staff, is located in Lime Tree House, a beautiful Georgian house built by John and William Bastard after the great fire of Blandford in 1731.
An experience not to the missed
Discerning visitors will relish the meticulous attention to detail and excellence of everything the museum does – this is a visual and sensual experience not to be missed.
Opening for the new season on Monday 18th February 2019, the museum has 13 exhibition spaces, several of which are changed annually according to a rolling exhibition programme. Exhibits in 2018 are described below.
Ladies of Dorset
Through the lives of several remarkable individuals, this exhibition showcases the great contribution of Dorset’s women to our local, national and cultural heritage throughout the past two centuries. Celebrated in the displays are: renowned paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847), Lady of Kingston Lacey Henrietta Bankes (1867-1953), socialite and ambassador Pamela Churchill-Harriman, née Digby (1920-1997), sculptor and printmaker Dame Elizabeth Frink (1930-1993) and Horrockses textile designer Joyce Badrocke (1926-).
Styles that changed fashion
An exhibition of iconic dress shapes from the twentieth century, this exhibition looks at vintage fashions that have had a lasting influence on what we wear today. Highlights include flapper style dresses from the 1920s, mini dresses from the 1960s, and a Chanel suit, all of which have helped to shape womenswear as we know it today.
After the war
To coincide with the centennary of the First World War, this exhibition celebrates the fashions that emerged after the end of the war, with a range of clothing and accessories from the late 1910s and early 1920s.
A chronological look at dress in scenes of everyday life from the 1920s to the 1970s, with each display representing one decade of what we now call ‘retro’ fashion. The displays showcase not only the clothes but also the accessories that characterised these decades, and the lifestyles that went with them.
The Georgian Room
This room is original to the house, and has a number of period features from the 1731 restoration. It always celebrates the town’s Georgian heritage, showing some of the earliest items in our collection. Currently on display are day dresses from the late eighteenth century.
Ladies Take Tea
Set in the house’s original parlour, this room currently recreates a Tea Party from the late Victorian period, with two ladies surrounded by all the accessories needed for a formal afternoon Tea.
This room is always dedicated to Accessories, and is currently showing a range of items, including some artefacts on loan from the Masonic Hall in Blandford, to coincide with the celebration of the Tercentenary of Freemasonry in Britain in 2017.
As part of our long-term collaboration with contemporary fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, this display is currently showcasing a catwalk finale dress from his archive.
An Edwardian Lady’s Room
The process of dressing has historically been more complicated than it is today. So this room shows all of the accessories and accoutrements required to dress the perfect Edwardian Lady for her day.
Dorset Craft Room
Celebrating the local origins of dress and fashion, this room includes displays of Dorset buttons and bonnets, traditional ‘rural’ dress and a look at the glove-making industry.
Including a display of historically-dressed dolls from the Beck Collection, this room contains replica clothing in children’s sizes so that they can try on accessories, including crinolines, from historic periods.
Cream tea for madam, sir?
Our traditional Tearoom that offers hot and cold drinks, Dorset cream teas and home-made cakes, all served by our volunteers. In fine weather, enjoy your refreshments in our enclosed courtyard garden.
Our shop offers a choice of fashion-related books, together with cards, postcards and other gifts, some of which are exclusive to the Blandford Fashion Museum.
How to sponsor a project
We have a number of small projects, such as conservation work, for which we are currently seeking sponsorship. Please email us on [email protected] if you would like to be a sponsor
Be a volunteer
We are always looking for volunteers to help with stewarding and in the tea-room, as well as to join our behind the scenes staff. If you would like to find out more please email us on [email protected]. No specific expertise is required, but if you have skills that you think may be relevant, do let us know.
Become a Friend
For information about becoming a Friend of the Museum, which includes free access and discounts to our events, please email [email protected]fordfashionmuseum.co.uk.
24th November 2018 to 17th February 2019 inclusive.
Where are we?
Lime Tree House, The Plocks, Blandford Forum