Fashion plate of 1807 April London Dress Detail from the Abbey Museum Collection

Fashion Plates and the “Women’s Weekly” of the 1800’s

Fashion Plates one of the Abbey Museum’s Hidden Treasures

At the Abbey Museum we have recently started moving our reserve collection into a new storage facility. As part of this much needed process we are also undertaking conservation and storage needs assessment of each object. This might sound like a long and boring exercise. At times it is indeed laborious, but at other times it can be very exciting. I get to see and work with some of the amazing artefacts that are not currently on display. My latest task was to go through and check the catalogue numbers on a series of historical fashion plates.

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Picnic at Pemberley: Other Physical Games

Whilst it may seem at a glance that there are many more physical activities available for gentlemen in company than there are for ladies, the fair sex is well catered for. What follows is a sampling of  suitable games for young ladies.


Toxophily is an ideal activity for both sexes. It builds patience, coordination and poise in a healthy outdoor setting. What better model for young ladies than the modest Diana, goddess of the hunt and archery.

Blind mans bluff and  hide-and-go- seek are excellent entertainment though the area of the play should be defined beforehand and the bufferting of the “blindman” should not be tolerated. To avoid scandal young women should not go into a hiding spot with a man unaccompanied.

Rolling of Hoops and skipping with a rope are also healthy ways for young ladies to gain exercise.

Under no circumstances should young ladies play at “hot cockles” with members …

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Picnic at Pemberley: The Game of Siam

Reportedly introduced by the Siamese ambassador to the court of his majesty king Louis XIV of France the name of the game betrays its exotic origins. The game is for two players and requires a ball and nine pins or skittles. The skittles are set out in a circle of eight with the ninth pin at the centre. The pins should be spaced twice the length of a pin apart.

Each skittle is worth one point, except for the three at the end of the circle farthest from the players; the two outside of which are worth 4 points and the middle one 5 points. The pin in the centre of the circle is worth 9 points.

Each player rolls or tosses the ball to knock down the pins and tallies their score. The first to reach 19 is the winner. If a player tallies more than 19 they have BURST and cannot win. If a player knocks over the centre pin they score 9 points; provided no other pin is thrown over at the same time. If the centre …

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Picnic at Pemberley: To Play at Pall

Pall Mall is a delightfully simple and uncomplicated pastime. Players form two teams, each player being identified by a coloured band on the ball.

Players start with their ball no more than a mallet’s head from the starting post. Each player takes a turn striking their ball with their mallet through the alley of hoops, the mall, until they reach the end post and then return in the reverse sequence. The correct sequence of hoops can be ascertained by counting the number of ribbons affixed to each hoop. The winning team is the one where both players have reached and struck the end post and returned through the hoops to strike the starting post.

Pall-Mall is a suitable game for both sexes as form and skill rather than brute strength is called for. As it is commonly played in pairs it is ideal for young ladies with chaperones.

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