Skirt, Black Wool Bombazine; Unknown maker; 1890-1900; WY.1996.46.2


Skirt, Black Wool Bombazine

About this object

This is a long black bombazine skirt, dating to the 1890s. The extra black bands of silk ribbon indicate that this was likely to be a mourning skirt.

As the final bustle period ended in the 1880s, so the skirts of the 1890s displayed real change. During this period fashions became simpler, with less drapery and adornment, creating a tall and elegant silhouette. The fullness of the skirt remained at the back, with the fabric cut in a sort of semi-circle, yet closely and smoothly fitted at the waist.

A mohair brush braid has been added to preserve the the trailing edge of the hem. This braid looks and functions exactly like a tiny brush.

The skirt is part of a collection of clothing which was found in a suitcase in a house in Wyndham formerly belonging to Bessie McLaughlan. It is likely that the skirt belonged to Bessie's mother, Elizabeth.

About Bessie:

Bessie was born in 1887, to James and Elizabeth McLauchlan. James, was the secretary for the Wyndham Dairy Factory and other companies and he also owned seven companies of his own. Bessie assisted her father with his secretarial work and in 1917/1918, she purchased the Wyndham Shoe Palace. It seems that she hired local women to run the store and, continued to assist her father. At this time, it was rare for woman to be involved with secretarial work, let alone owning their own businesses. By World War Two, Bessie was the Wyndham Town Clerk.

Bessie died in 1961, aged 74 years. She is buried in the Wyndham Cemetery with her parents and her brother, Daniel.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made


Medium and Materials

organic, processed material, animal, hair, wool
organic, processed material, animal, animal product, wool
organic, processed material, vegetal, fibre, cotton
organic, processed material, animal, animal product, silk
inorganic, processed material, metal


h 1100 mm x w 1180 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Clothing and Accessories

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution (cc) Attribution (cc)

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