Take a hop, skip and jump back to the Victorian era with a look at some of the sporting attire of the day this weekend.
As part of Belsay Hall’s spectacular month-long Fashion from the Past event, visitors are invited to enjoy the sporting fashion in vogue more than a century ago May 19 and 20.
Belsay’s Victorian sporting fashion
In what is an iconic sporting year in the UK, English Heritage takes you back to how things were in Victorian times, with particular focus on women’s sporting pursuits, including swimming, cycling, horse riding, croquet and tennis.
The sporting stars of today are lucky enough to be able to wear high tech, breathable fabrics such as lycra and airtex, enhancing their performances, and, through a series of exciting presentations and hands-on costume displays, visitors will discover what Victorians had to deal with, taking a closer look at the more cumbersome sporting attire of that time.
Historical experts, History’s Maid, will lead the presentations throughout the event and Dr Kate Vigurs, who runs the organisation, will explain the pivotal role that fashion played in the sport of the day. Visitors this weekend can also look forward to presentations of medieval dress for nobles and servants from Discover History.
Victorian age a turning point for women in sport
Kate said: “We’ll be taking a look at sporting fashions from Victorian times to see just how much things have changed over the years. The Victorian age was a turning point for women in sport as they began to have opportunities to play sports such as badminton, swimming, cricket and cycling too – fashion played a huge role in what they could and could not do.
“In contrast to modern times, women had to remain especially ladylike and graceful when they took part in sport and as you can imagine, corsetry and other attire was restrictive and not particularly comfortable!
“We will be showcasing many examples of the sportswear of the day, including a look at Victorian swimwear – with your bloomers and mop cap, it was a far cry away from today’s less restrictive clothing! Visitors will also be able to handle some sporting equipment, for example, high quality horse riding gear – again, it wasn’t easy for women in Victorian times as they would be riding side saddle in their corsets.”
Belsay’s Fashion from the Past month runs until 27 May. With daily costume displays throughout the month showing the trends of Tudor nobles and a series of exciting weekend presentations, visitors to Belsay will be able to take a trip through time at this extra special event.
Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens opening hours
Belsay is now open daily from 10am – 5pm.
Admission prices: Adult: £7.70 / Concession: £6.90 / Child: £4.60. Under 5s and English Heritage members go free.