Shopping for clothes

Madame Val Smith's, Church Street, Liverpool, about 1927.
Emily bought some of her many hats here.

Emily Tinne had many garments made for her by a local dressmaker, Mrs Taylor, the wife of a neighbouring chauffeur. Mrs Taylor used some of the many paper patterns that were available to dressmakers in the 1920s and 1930s, produced by firms such as Weldon's and Butterick's. Many of these survive in the Tinne Collection and reveal Emily's taste in day and evening wear in particular. They also indicate her expanding shape, with seven successive pregnancies, and their rather bluntly-worded titles, including much use of the description Outsize, appear amusing to us today. They would not have been considered inappropriate at that time.

Emily also bought huge numbers of garments, shoes, hats and other accessories in Liverpool's many city centre shops and department stores. She especially enjoyed shopping at Cripps' in Bold Street, George Henry Lee's in Basnett Street, the Bon Marché in Church Street and Lewis's in Ranelagh Street. But her favourite shop was probably Owen Owen's in Clayton Square, where she bought numerous items.

Weldon's patterns for three day dresses, about 1932-34.
Text reads: 'Weldon series no. 357. Smart Fashions for Wider
Hips. 6d. Full range of sizes 34"-42" Bust, 42"-50" Hips.
Free inside All these Patterns (38" Bust 46" Hips)'

Despite the family wealth, Emily always liked to find a bargain. In November 1934 she wrote to her son Ernest, concerning his twenty-first birthday present from his sisters

"I went on a voyage of discovery about gloves today & at O.O [Owen Owen's] I found some very good ones; the largest sizes that are made and reduced for the mid-season sale. They are sending four pairs for you to choose from. The girls gave me £2 to send you for gloves or for me to buy them."

Rather strangely, Emily's letters do not reveal many details of the hundreds of clothes that she bought for herself, over a period of twenty years, until the outbreak of war in 1939. We know that she treated shopping rather like a hobby, and that she shopped most afternoons, but we do not know the real reasons for it. Whatever her motives in buying so much, the shopping came to a halt in 1939 when her thoughts turned to more serious matters.