HERITAGE costumes including a walking dress from 1845 and an original 1932 Chanel evening dress are being showcased in a series of venues across Worthing.

It’s the second phase of Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’s Costume Trail, which is on until next summer and puts pieces from its costume collections, one of the largest in the UK, in public places.

Among the changing series of displays hosted in showcases at local businesses across the town is the tarlatan walking dress, produced in 1845 and the oldest on the trail. It is on display at the seaside Pavilion Theatre owing to its seaweed and coral-like pattern.

Other items on the trail include a 1915 homemade three-piece day dress, two wedding dresses, a nurse’s uniform and three evening dresses.

Complementing the trail is a 1932 Chanel evening dress made of blue silk tulle with small matching sequins, currently on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was given the dress by Loelia, Duchess of Westminster. The dress, as with many of Coco Chanel’s designs, inspired mass-produced copies, one of which is on display alongside the Chanel dress in the museum.

Northbrook Metropolitan College has become the latest local organisation to host a museum showcase. The college’s case features a homemade 1965 Op-Art dress with a matching cape.

Gerry Connolly, senior curator of Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, says, “Following the success of the first phase of the trail, we have released the new map, which will lead people to our fabulous historic costumes in some of the town’s favourite organisations. I’d encourage everyone to pick up a new map, enjoy the trail, then come to visit us at the museum where we have more wonderful costumes on display.”

A Secret Gallery has also been installed within the museum, featuring a series of wardrobe-style doors that can be opened to reveal artwork inspired by the museum’s costume collection. 

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with support from the South East Museums Development Fund, organisations such as Men In Sheds, Creative Waves Community Arts, local school children, college students and community groups have been involved in creating the Costume Trail, creating artwork and decorating cases on the trail as well as within the museum galleries and garden.

The ongoing Costume Trail is at various venues around Worthing including Worthing Museum and Art Gallery until summer. Phone 01903 221448 or visit http://www.worthingmuseum.co.uk.


Top: 1932 Chanel Dress on loan from Victoria and Albert Museum, given by Loelia, Duchess of Westminster

Middle: Evening dress circa 1925 Connaught Theatre

Bottom: Afternoon Dress circa 1910, Dinnages Volvo Worthing by Worthing Theatres

Locations and Costumes

Op-Art Dress & Cape (1965)

Northbrook Metropolitan College, Littlehampton Road, Goring-By-Sea, Worthing, BN12 6NU

Wedding Dress circa (1948)

Haskins Garden Centre Roundstone, Roundstone By-Pass Road, Angmering, BN16 4BD

Day Dress circa (1915)

Worthing Town Hall, Chapel Road, Worthing, BN11 1HA

Chanel Dress circa (1932) & 1930s Evening Dress circa (1939)

Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing, BN11 1HP

Evening Dress circa (1925)

Connaught Theatre, Union Place, Worthing, BN11 1LG

Wedding Dress (1910)

Starbucks, 22-26 South Street, Worthing, BN11 3AA

Walking Dress circa (1845)

Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, BN11 3PX

St Bartholomew’s Hospital Nurse’s Uniform (1910)

Worthing Hospital, Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, BN11 2DH

1910s Afternoon Dress circa (1910)

Dinnages Volvo, Brougham Road, Worthing, BN11 2NR