Desperate Sudley Wives

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Big dress

Sudley House in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was the home of Victorian shipowner George Holt who amassed a huge fortune as one of the proprietors of Lamport & Holt.

Despite his wealth, he was a modest man who did not go in for lavish entertainment. He was married with one daughter and the family were not ones to splash the cash on themselves.

In fact, they were among Liverpool’s greatest philanthropists and gave away most of what they acquired – including Sudley House.

George’s daughter Emma handed it over with its amazing art collection including paintings by Gainsborough, Millais, Holman Hunt and Turner.

Her stunningly generous gift ensured that the only art collection by a British Victorian merchant in its original domestic setting survives.

The atmosphere of historic homes is best captured when people dress in clothes reminiscent of the period.

This happened on 14 November 2011 when this crinoline dress (see my picture above) was unveiled in Sudley’s drawing room.

The Liverpool-made garment is seen in tonight’s episode of Desperate Scousewives on the E4 TV channel.

Made from synthetic human hair, it weighed 15 stone and took its toll on the model during the two hours of filming.

As my grandma May Kendrick (1868 - 1954) used to tell her friends: "Loosen your stays or you'll get the vapours."