Sinead Nunes, Editor
Heritage Weekend has got to be one of the best additions to the annual arts calendar: an opportunity to learn more about your local community, your city and gain access to places that are perhaps restricted for most of the year.
This year, I spent my Heritage Weekend around Wavertree, where I discovered a lot more about my local area.
The ‘Lock-Up’ opposite Picton Clock has always fascinated me, so I could not resist the opportunity to take a look inside: a stone structure, which has been part of Wavertree village since 1776, the Lock-Up was once used to house drunks until they sobered up, and was policed by local volunteers. Moving on to the 1800s, the same building then played host to two Irish families, who had fled the famine back home. It is amazing to think that one small structure, which cannot be more than a couple of metres wide, could have played such an integral part in the lives of local people.
The highlight of Wavertree’s historical offerings for me though, came in the form of an exhibition of wedding dresses, lovingly donated by the members of Wavertree Congregational church and beautifully curated by Sue Warburton.
Spanning 76 years, from 1927 – the present day, the display felt like a history of the wedding dress as an iconic piece of fashion. Every dress displayed was completely unique, many were handmade by the brides themselves or their families, and each dress told the story of a wonderful romance.
My favourite dress in the exhibition had to be the oldest: Maud Creighton’s garment from 1927. A delicate flapper-style design, Maud’s dress was the only surviving item from a flood which swept her son Alan’s house a few years ago. The dress remains beautiful and stylish to this day – a true relic of a bygone era, and an example of how much modern tastes have changed.
Another dress which captured my imagination belonged to Mabel Taylor, from 1946. The story of Mabel and her groom Thomas’ romance made the history of the dress even more alluring, as the pair met 10 years before the war and married when Thomas arrived home in Liverpool after a long and chivalrous courtship. Thomas recently celebrated his 100th birthday, and kindly donated his late wife’s dress to be part of this exhibition.
Lastly, curator Sue Warburton’s handmade dress from 1982 stood out from the rest with its 11 foot train and painstakingly sewn lace trim. Sue married her husband Ged in this very church and made her own dress as well as 4 bridesmaids dresses herself.
Like some of the other brides in the exhibition, Sue included receipts from her wedding day, which make today’s extravagant matrimonial parties seem ludicrous.
A beautiful and lovingly sentimental trip down memory lane for Heritage Day, it truly was a joy to share in the stories of these local women as they celebrated their special days once more.