Day 4: Researching at the V&A Archives

this belongs to the British Museum, on loan to the V&A.

Greetings, Gentle Reader, from the first half of my day! I’m currently sitting at a Pub near Barons Court, and the V&A Clothworkers Archives. I had my morning appointment, and now I need to sit and chill until my afternoon appointment (they need time to put out the other items). I found a pub with Wifi, called the husband and the dad, and am sitting typing to you.

This morning was all crinolines, all the time. There is a large section of my second chapter on the crinoline (with Elizabeth Gaskell’s short story, “the Cage at Cranford”) and I mainly discuss a red crinoline from the Museum of London’s archives. But there is a crinoline I saw today, also red, that I want to discuss.

I have a soft spot for worn clothing in archives. I love to see the stains, the tears, the mendings, all the signs that the outfit was worn and loved. You don’t get that very often with archival materials, because so much of it is ‘best dress’ or just worn once or twice. So to find those signs of wear and tear is special to me. This particular crinoline was worn and worn well. I loved it.

I’m not even sure what I’m looking at this afternoon or tomorrow (I have two days in the V&A) because I made the requests many months ago, but I am so happy and in love with what I’ve seen so far.

happy but tired.

There is a slight problem with my trip though, and that’s with my shoes. I thought these would be my perfect walking shoes. They’re Doc Martens and they’re broken in and everything. But I have blisters on my feet, both of them, and I’m just sort of shuffling along. Also, there’s so much walking in London and I am not in my best fighting shape. We took the stairs at the archive because the lift was broken and I am dying inside and outside.

The waiter just came by with the menu so I’m going to order lunch and read for a bit. More soon.

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