Guernsey Press

Costumes from the past showcase ‘real history’

Costumes worn by some of Guernsey’s leading figures from as far back as the 18th century are among the items on show at a free display, launched this week at the National Trust’s Folk & Costume Museum at Saumarez Park.

National Trust’s Folk & Costume Museum manager Jake Le Gallez and National Trust vice-president Sara Lampitt at the trust's new exhibition which includes costumes worn as far back as the 18th century among items on show. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33108341)

The display is now open to the public until the end of October and showcases a range of different artefacts across several exhibitions over two floors.

These include a wedding dress worn by islander Marie de Carteret at her wedding to Jean Guille at St George’s Estate on 16 April 1759, a light cavalry sabre from 1796 used by local swordsman John Gaspard Le Marchant, a photograph album loaned to the museum by former Bailiff Sir de Vic Carey, which details a fancy dress ball held at Le Vallon farm in 1863, and an Elizabeth College boater hat from 1937 signed by a number of college students of the time, known as the ‘Boys in the Boater’ exhibition.

National Trust vice-president Sara Lampitt said that it had taken a long time to research and plan the display, but she was delighted with how it had turned out.

‘I’m not sure there is anything else like this on the island, the amount of detail that has gone into it is staggering and trying to sum each section up in a couple of hundred words on the accompanying panels almost feels like a disservice to each part.

'All of the exhibitions effortlessly weave into each other and without much effort it is easy to transport oneself back to a moment in time and a particular era in our history.’

Among her personal highlights were the ‘Boys in the Boater’ exhibition, as well as a court coat worn by wealthy local merchant and former Lord Mayor of London Paul Le Mesurier at the fancy dress ball at Le Vallon in 1863, donated to the exhibition by the Dobree family.

‘The ‘Boys in the Boater’ exhibition stands as a testament to the spirit of Elizabeth College, and ensures that students’ stories are not only commemorated, but continue to inspire future generations.

'Seeing the court coat right in front of you as well as in the photo album gives me goosebumps – you’re looking at a piece of real history.’

Museum manager Jake Le Gallez said that, while the museum’s peak season was the summer, he was expecting the display to be popular as soon as it opened.

'I'm proud of the whole team, so much hard work has gone into it and it looks incredibly professional.’

He was particularly fond of the section of the display comprising Mr Le Marchant's 18th century sabre, and the photo album.

‘Each item gives a very interesting insight and snapshot into the era, it’s incredible and some of the items are very rare,’ said Mr Le Gallez.

Trust president Mike Brown was pleased the display was free for the public to visit.

‘It’s the right decision because there’s a lot to see. People may need to come more than once to get a detailed look at everything.’

  • The museum is open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm.