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.
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.
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.
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.