The Great War in Costume: new exhibition at Fashion Museum

Costumes from Downton Abbey will feature as part of a new exhibition at Bath’s Fashion Museum.

War hospital © Bath Record Office
War hospital
© Bath Record Office

The exhibition, The Great War in Costume: Family and Fashion on the Home Front, which runs from Saturday July 19 – August 31, will mark the centenary of World War One, and will be opened by journalist and writer Kate Adie OBE.

© Imperial War Museum
© Imperial War Museum

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum is hosting the exhibition in the Ball Room of the Assembly Rooms, as part of the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Partnership.

Yvonne Hellin-Hobbs, the exhibition organiser, said: “World War One changed the lives of women for ever. Due to the recruitment of most healthy men, women were required to do the jobs that men used to do.

With this, women’s fashion changed; corsetry was softened and clothing became more practical, with some working women even wearing trousers for the first time.

Image courtesy of: Imperial War Museum
Image courtesy of: Imperial War Museum

“The exhibition follows the lives of women on the home front through this conflict and how this new life and social status influenced fashion for women.

As well as costumes from the television series Downton Abbey, it will also feature examples of uniforms and civilian dress, memorabilia and propaganda.”

Councillor Ben Stevens, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We’re proud to be hosting such an important exhibition as part of our commemoration of World War One in Bath and North East Somerset.”

© Bath Record Office
© Bath Record Office

Kate Adie is the author Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One, a book which has been an important information source and inspiration for the exhibition.

Betty the munitioned 1917 © Bath Record Office
Betty the munitioned 1917
© Bath Record Office

There will also be a special illustrated talk on Wednesday August 6, at 2.30pm, called ‘Women and the Great War’.

Author and broadcaster Lucy Adlington will look at the lives of women during the war and display an array of original clothes.

Tickets priced at £10 (£8 concessions) include entry to the exhibition The Great War in Costume, and can be purchased from Bath Box Office Tel 01225 463362.

Entry to The Great War in Costume is included in the ticket for the Fashion Museum, open 10.30-5pm daily. Admission price is £8 adults/£6.00 children, free to Discovery Card Holders. Visit for more information

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