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The Secret Dress Diary of Mrs Ann Sykes

Lecture on Monday 7th September 2020 at 1:45PM

Lecturer: Kate Strasdin
Venue: Larruperz Centre

In January 1916 I was given a pink silk covered volume the contained a secret world of past lives, of a community in the mid 19th century and stories told through samples of fabric carefully pasted into the pages of this book. Kept for almost 40 years before being given to me, this diary is gradually revealing its secrets and the lives lived, of Anne Sykes and her friends and family in Lancashire from the 1830s. This lecture looks at how textiles can tell us about the lives of our ancestors and the textile manufacturing of a nation.

Kate Strasdin has worked as a curator of textiles and dress for over 20 years and is now the Deputy Curator at the Totnes Fashion and Textile Museum. She is a Senior Lecturer in History and Theory at Falmouth University and a Special Visiting Lecturer for the DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. Publications include An Easy Day for a Lady (Costume Journal, 2008) and Empire Dressing - the Design and Realisation of Queen Alexandra's Coronation Gown (Journal of Design History, 2012). Kate's book on Queen Alexandra's wardrobe was published in 2017 and she is working on her next book, The Secrets of a 19th Century Dress Diary. She is one of the youngest practitioners of the dying art of Honiton lace.

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