Mary Crane was amongst the forty or fifty Volunteers who enjoyed the Volunteers Briefing this afternoon. She writes…
At the Tuesday afternoon Volunteers Coffee/Tea Briefing, Sue Allenby gave a presentation on the Fawcett family cape which is held in the museum’s costume collection.
The collection holds items of clothing from the early 18th century onwards, given to the museum by the people of Salisbury. Among these items is a beautiful purple wool cape with cream silk Madras work embroidery and a silk fringe. The cape is dated 1868 and it was given by a Mrs Fawcett in 1934. The only other detail on its card is an address: 31 Clarendon Road.
Having done a lot of research, Sue has concluded that the most likely owner of the cape in 1868 was Millicent Fawcett (nee Garrett 1847 – 1929) who married Henry Fawcett (MP for Brighton, statue in Market Square) in 1867. Millicent was then 20 years old and a member of the Suffragist Movement (the peaceful, lawful fighters for Women’s Suffrage). It seemed a good match as Henry seconded the Bill for Women’s Suffrage in Parliament.
The Mrs Fawcett who donated the cape would seem to be Millicent’s niece, Charlotte, who lived at 31 Clarendon Road, Salisbury.
Before her marriage, Charlotte and her sister Catherine belonged to the Lovibond family, local brewers who lived at Lake House. Catherine was the founder of Stonehenge Woollens Ltd (whose blue plaque can be seen just outside High Street Gate).
As Sue said, it is important for our local history to put real Salisbury people into the clothes.
Volunteer Sue Allenby was interviewed by Radio Wiltshire about the Fawcett family cape that we have in the collection. This was part of a series of programmes on radio Wiltshire to make the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. People can still listen to the interview on iPlayer. It is on Radio Wiltshire and was aired on Monday 5 February at around 10.10-10.13am as part of the Marie Lennon programme entitled ‘Young Victims of Stroke’.