Emily Tinne

An English lady's wardrobe

New exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, 25 October 2019 to 1 March 2020

illustrations of women in stylish dresses and coats

Don't miss An English lady's wardrobe - our biggest ever exhibition of the Tinne collection, featuring new insights into the family and exploring shopping and style in Liverpool during the interwar years.


Photograph of a woman on a low seat in a light dress

Emily Tinne © courtesy of Dr Alexine Tinne

Early years and education

Emily was born Emily Margaret McCulloch on 21 August 1886 near Calcutta, India, where her parents were Christian missionaries. At the age of seven she was sent to boarding school in England and later lived with her mother's family in Edinburgh.

At the age of 18 Emily began to train as a domestic science teacher at the well-known Edinburgh School of Cookery.

Upon completion of her training, in about 1906, Emily and her aunt moved to Liverpool to live with her uncle in a spacious house in Aigburth, a prosperous southern suburb of the city. Emily got her first job as a teacher at the Liverpool Training School of Cookery and Technical College of Domestic Science, in Colquitt Street, Liverpool.

Moving to Liverpool

It was while she was living with her uncle that Emily met her future husband, Dr Philip Frederic Tinne, a local GP and member of a wealthy family of sugar merchants and ship-owners. They married on 14 July 1910 at the Presbyterian Church, Toxteth Park, Liverpool. They honeymooned in Ireland, probably at Culdaff, County Donegal, where they stayed in the house owned by Philip's father, John Ernest Tinne. This later became the setting for many happy family holidays.

Married life

Once married, Emily had to give up her job as it was socially unacceptable then for a middle-class married woman to work. With servants to help care for her children and time on her hands, she filled her days by shopping for clothes, almost like a hobby. The Tinne family wealth allowed her to indulge her passion for fashion.