Handbags and gladrags

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Grandmas are great aren’t they? They make killer roast dinners, they are a mine of information and can surprise you with their knowledge of blogs and Twitter at the age of 88. Well maybe that’s just my Grandma. But the other great thing is that she is also a great lover of accessories and is generous enough to have passed on some of her well-kept gems to me!

Silver beaded evening bag

Beaded evening bag: not suitable for clubbing.

This beautiful evening bag is starting to fray a little as it is so old and delicate but its beading is totally exquisite. I’m not sure when it dates from, but it’s certainly not one for swinging around on the dance-floor on a Saturday night.

So as she is a lover of shoes, boots, hats and bags, I thought it was definitely time I took her to see ‘A Sweet Life’ at Sudley House. This exhibition finishes on Sunday 7 March so if you haven’t been along to see these amazing dresses, coats and accessories owned by Emily Tinne, then you’d better hurry!

My Grandma is only one year older than Emily Tinne’s daughter Alexine and Emily was married to a doctor, as was my Grandma. So there were many aspects of the exhibition that she could relate to in the family photos and stories about family life.

I discovered that my Grandma’s aunty was an apprentice ‘tailoress’ at Cripps’, one of the shops featured in the exhibition. This was one of the places Liverpool that Emily Tinne used to buy her clothes from. She remembered Madame Val Smith's hat shop and also told me how Bold Street really was “the place to be” when she used to go there.

Although there is a lot of debate about the ethics of using fur today, it was abundant in the fashions of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The fur coats on display in ‘A Sweet Life’ are certainly very dramatic! They made my Grandma remember her white rabbit fur coat, which she still has at home. It was given to her when she was a child in the 1920’s for a special occasion – a party at a doctor’s house.

Not only did we have a great afternoon, but I also found out a little bit more about some of my family history! If you have a Grandma, why not take her along? I bet she’ll have a great time.