The Hidden Wardrobe


1730-50s mustard yellow satin uppers and heel covers. Charles Paget Wade costume collection, stored at Berrington Hall
This blog is the wonderful idea of Ellie, who works at Berrington Hall (a national trust property).

She says of the collection; “This fabulous costume collection owes its existence to the extraordinary vision of the avid collector Charles Paget Wade. Wade harboured an obsession with the magic of objects and the power they imbue in us all to ‘inspire a thousand fancies.’

The collection comprises 2,203 objects, largely 18th and 19th century costume, with a particular bias towards menswear. The collection is unusual in that it contains items from both ends of the social strata as its collector, Charles Paget Wade, championed the principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement selecting items based on his dictum ‘Colour, design and craftsmanship.’
At present the collection really is a hidden wardrobe. With no facilities for display on the horizon it remains largely hidden and in storage at Berrington Hall. The curator, Althea Mackenzie, and I hope to address this by providing access in the most modern of venues – the blogosphere!
In short the purpose of this blog is to provide:

  • Detailed colour photographs of an incredible collection
  • Showcase the collection without the damaging effects of long-term display and handling
  • Encourage and generate interest in costume history (If you have questions please ask!)
  • Indulge ourselves in all things costume”
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