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Machines to assist with sewing were not widely manufactured until French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier invented a machine in 1829 which was patented by Auguste Ferrand in 1830 and led to the creation of the world’s first machinebased clothing manufacturer later that year.

Did you know?

Now it is your turn to discover the costume collection while learning interesting facts along the way. This map will lead you to each costume site plus there is a chance to win four cinema tickets for the Connaught Cinema. See our ‘Competition’ page for details.

This ambitious trail, believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the country, has been made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their generous grant has been complemented by additional investment in the trail’s state-of the art showcases by the South East Museums’ Development Fund. The combined funding has led to a total of 12 new cases being purchased for the trail and a lasting legacy of costume display at the museum.

Queen Victoria ordered her 132cm (52-inch) waist bloomers in sets of 12. The pair within Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’s collection was donated after purchase at a garden party at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had spent many holidays. Queen Victoria was known to give her previously worn undergarments to her ladies-in-waiting or the ladies of houses in which she stayed.

Did you know?

The collection has been especially praised for its breadth of items. Where many costume collections focus on couture, WMA has day-to-day items, especially homemade and shop-bought, rather than bespoke. It creates a historically accurate reflection of the reality of daily life through the years, owing to its intensely personal pieces.

Although it is one of the largest of its kind in the country, WMA’s costume collection may be one of the town’s best kept secrets. The collection has grown steadily since the museum opened in 1908 and now holds over 30,000 objects. It includes everything from Princess Amelia’s shoes and Queen Victoria’s bloomers to the everyday clothing of Worthing’s residents.

Worthing Costume Trail is an exciting way to find out about the riches hidden within Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’s fantastic costume collection. The trail displays clothing made and worn over the past 200 years throughout Worthing. Each costume has rich history and a story to share.

COSTUME TRAIL 2016 - 2018 The Collection

Did you know?

The oldest complete garment in WMA’s costume collection is a black-work jacket from 1612 - 1620, making it over 400 years old. Black-work takes its name from a form of embroidery which used black thread on a plain background.

Thank you for taking part in WMA’s first Costume Trail.

Please keep in touch:

By email:

By post: Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing. BN11 1HP

In person: WMA is open Tue to Sat 10am to 5pm

Facebook: Worthing Museum & Art Gallery

Twitter: @WorthingMuseum

Instagram: worthingmuseum

Pinterest: Worthing Museum

For information on bus routes and times please visit:, or call 08712 002 233

For information on train times please visit:, or call 03457 484 950

Join a trail of discovery…

There are over 160 wedding dresses in Worthing Museum and Art Gallery’s collection, the earliest is from 1815. The most recent 1991 and they range in colour from white and ivory to rusts and pinks.

Did you know?

Once you have completed the trail please do add your own thoughts and memories relating to costume via our ‘vox-box’ which is part of the Secret Gallery. Whatever your costumerelated thoughts, share them at the museum or online via the links featured on the back cover.

The Secret Gallery invites you to explore the wardrobe spaces within the museum’s costume gallery. As you open each set of doors you will discover more about rarely-seen items from the collection and new spaces will appear throughout the duration of the trail. Be sure to tag #SecretGallery whenever you discover a new set of doors.

Worthing Men in Sheds, a community interest group which supports the health and wellbeing of men through its unique offer of shed-based making and mending, have created the wardrobe-like doors for the Secret Gallery which you can enjoy after the trail.

Arts group Creative Waves have run a series of workshops with local children and young people to produce the attention-grabbing artwork you see inside the showcases, reflecting the decades in which the costumes were worn.

Two of the groups who have been involved since the beginning of the trail’s creation are Worthing-based Creative Waves and Men in Sheds.

The Costume Trail is as much about people as the items themselves. Throughout the creation of the trail, WMA has been assisted by volunteers, the businesses in which the cases are housed and local groups.

Taking Part


To celebrate your completion of the whole trail we’d like to offer you the chance to win tickets for you and up to three of your friends or family to see a film at the Connaught Cinema.

Simply complete the trail and successfully answer the questions at the sites. Once completed, just fill out the answer to each question plus your name and address details overleaf and hand it to the team at the Connaught Cinema box office for your chance to win.*

*Terms and Conditions apply. One entry per household per 9 months. No cash alternative will be supplied. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. Original entry must be tendered. Tickets do not apply to films within their first two weeks’ release.


Costume Trail Map  

A changing series of displays using WMA's costume collection are hosted in showcases presented in and located at local businesses across Wor...

Costume Trail Map  

A changing series of displays using WMA's costume collection are hosted in showcases presented in and located at local businesses across Wor...