Dressmakers' Labels

Published: 3 December 2020

Dressmakers’ Labels

As part of the museum’s collecting policy we concentrate on taking items that have a particular significance and relevance to Leicester. Much of the clothing in the collection has been worn by people in Leicester and many items have been made by local people. Not many items have a maker’s label, but if one does it immediately makes it more interesting and enables the museum to tell a fuller story about it.

Dressmakers often marked their names on the inner waistbands of dresses as can be seen in the two photos above. The first bodice has the name of ‘Mrs Ault’ and her Leicester address printed on. We presume that she ran a small dressmaking business but would love to know any more information about her. The second waistband has a very smart label woven into the ribbon, displaying the name of ‘Adderly & Co Ltd, Leicester’ along with the Leicester cinque foil. We know that this company developed from just a small draper’s shop to become one of Leicester’s top department stores, which in turn was taken over by Marshall and Snelgrove.

The slightly battered box tells us a little about another successful local business, Stanley Golden. The box came into the collection containing a watered silk wedding dress from 1939. It displays the address in Granby Street and gives some idea of the size of the shop that spanned at least two premises, had its own stationery and supplied hats, furs, blouses, costumes as well as gowns. The box still has an original seven penny stamp, with the head of King George VI, and would have been sent to the customer containing their purchases.