Members of Questers 9 enjoyed a visit to the Hampshire Wardrobe. Based locally at Chilcombe House, Bar End, it appears from the outside as a series of large temporary buildings. What a tardis! Inside are racks of clothes with hundreds of garments and artefacts.

We were greeted by Havva and Helen with coffee, biscuits and cake. Havva explained that the clothes were organised in chronological order from early Britain, Middle Ages, Elizabethan through to the 1920-30, the War years and up to the present day. The later years of course we can remember!! The costumes also represent countries from all over the world, Roman, Egyptian, Americas, Australia, India and the Far East.

Havva gave a talk on her experiences for the stage, opera and TV programmes. Kate explained how, with help from volunteers, copies of original valuable costumes often donated by members of the public, can be made for hiring out to the public.

We were then given the opportunity to dress up, choosing any of the costumes. A Chinese nobleman, Russian nobility, Egyptian princess etc. No one chose Elvis or Abba! Some of the clothes would have been very uncomfortable to wear. We could hardly lift the chain mail, Elizabethan clothes had heavy embellishments and later waists drawn in tight with lacing to achieve the tiny waist.

Clothing could be accessorized with the appropriate wigs, head gear, hats, boots, evening bags, evening gloves, swords, gaiters etc etc.

In fact, if you need a costume for a School Production, Goodwood Revival, Fancy Dress or a Theme Party the Hampshire Wardrobe is the place to go. A real treasure trove!

An enjoyable (and informative) visit.





Pam Green