Fashion At The Wednesbury Museum And Art Gallery

It’s always lovely when a fashion exhibition pops up virtually on your doorstep. The Hodson Shop collection was one such delight, and this summer I have found a small fashion exhibition in the town of my youth, Wednesbury, at the town’s beautiful museum and art gallery.

The exhibition is called ‘Clothes!’ and is taking place in the museums Nostalgia Rooms. It features a range of pieces from the 1959s, 1960s and 70s, along with memorabilia and old photographs of West Bromwich, Wednesbury and the surrounding areas from the same era.

I love the clothes that are featured, these pieces are not couture or designer pieces, but are instead the sort of clothes that your mother or grandmother might have owned and worn, really pieces of social history displayed within a context. I loved the purple maxi dress with long sleeves and high neck, my mom was a bridesmaid in 1973 and wore something very similar, and a dress of a similar colour that came from the 1950s, but would still look good today due to the classic style.

The 1960s explosion of fashion is well represented, with lots of printed and plain shift dresses in the style of Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin. And, just to prove that fashion is cyclical, and that styles do come around again and again, the exhibition has a maxi style dress and a tea dress that may be 1970s in origin, but certainly wouldn’t look out of place on today’s High Street.

The Clothes! exhibition is in the Nostalgia Rooms at the Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery until the end of 2017. Entrance is free, and you could also check out the permanent toy exhibition and the beautiful Ruskin pottery whilst you are there,

Click here for more information.

Fashion and Shopping history – The Hodson Shop Collection

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The Hodson shop collection is a slice of shopping history and a story worthy of a book. Two sisters, Edith and Flora Hodson, opened a shop in the front room of their house in Willenhall, West Midlands, in 1920. The shop sold all manner of ladies apparel and accessories, along with toiletries and fragrances. The shop is open until 1971, when Flora, finding the running of the shop difficult after her sister’s death, decided to shut the shop. However, the shop was not closed properly, Flora simply closed the door, leaving the shop and stock intact. After Flora’s death in 1983, the unique collection was discovered and handed over to the Walsall Museum.

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Currently there is a rather fabulous exhibition of some of the items from the Hodson Shop collection taking place at the Walsall Leather Museum. The complete collection has over 3,000 exhibits that date from the 1920s to the 1960s, offering a fantastic look at the social history of the time in terms of what normal people wore and used. There are also pieces that tell us a lot about the fashion of wartime, with utility fashion a key part of the collection.

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I popped along to the Leather Museum last week to take a look at the collection. I am fortunate enough to have seen lots of the pieces at first hand, I visited the Walsall Museum stores in the early millenium when I was working on a project with the museum, and was able to touch and view lots of pieces from the collection, so this was truly a lovely morning for me, swept up in the nostalgia of a shop that was forever locked in time.

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The Hodson Shop exhibition is on display at the Walsall Leather Museum until 21st January 2017.

You can also read about the Hodson Shop project here.