Headline photo

Headline photo
Rockcliffe and Kippford from South Glen Brae: Ed Iglehart [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Introductory text

Kippford and Rockcliffe are on the East Stewartry Coast, an unspoilt National Scenic Area with two other NSAs in close proximity. It is in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland, a region known for it's wonderful scenery, biodiversity, turbulent history, smugglers and black and white 'belted' cattle known as Galloway Belties. This stretch of coastline has many names. Known locally as the Colvend Coast or the 'Secret Coast' (due to the peace and tranquility) it is often referred to as the 'Scottish Riviera' due to it being the holiday resort of choice for Victorian millionaires and having a Gulf Stream influenced microclimate: evidenced by palm trees in some gardens. Castle Douglas, the food town is a short drive away and Kirkcudbright, the Artists Town is over the next headland.

This a scenic and unique part of the world and we started the blog to share the experience of living in this wonderful place. We hope that it will be of interest to others who live here and give those planning to visit the area a taste of all it has to offer.

The blog has a correspondent in both Kippford and Rockcliffe village, you can also follow their Twitter feeds on the right of the page. If you would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Corsets, cakes & kaleidoscope colours... the evocative prints of Horrockses at Shambellie House

We are incredibly lucky to have the Shambellie National Museum of Costume on our doorstep. Although we live in a wonderful rural location I am always amazed by the diversity of historic, cultural and artistic events on offer and Shambellie never fails to deliver. 

I love an afternoon there spent either in the house or the atmospheric grounds and have visited many times. You are always assured a warm welcome by the attentive helpful team there. The house and grounds alone are well worth a visit with rhodedendrons and a variety of trees and shrubs  

Shambellie House and grounds - from the driveway
This particular trip was prompted by their current exhibition 'Off the Peg: Fashion form the 40s and 50s'  focusing on the fashion label Horrockses.

Horrockses Fashions was known for their off-the-peg labels of the 1940s and 1950s. They gained a reputation for practicality and glamour combined with easy-care fabrics. I loved the bold prints and crisp cottons with founcy skirts the exhibition made me think of summer. Horrockses maintained an air of exclusivity producing about a 1000 of each style, using good quality fabrics, mostly cotton, custom-designed patterns, and great styling.

There is an extensive range of  Horrockses designs on display
The exhibition is very evocative: pass me my gloves, headscarf and Audrey Hepburn sunglasses! It features an extensive range of  Horrockses designs on display: the rooms were a veritable kaleidoscope of colour, a visual feast for fashionistas, designers or artists and beautifully lit. Not simply an excuse for fond nostalgia, the exhibition captivates even the youngsters among us: the myriad of styles, colours and patterns fascinated a 10 year old in our party who was wide-eyed to learn that 'Grannie' wore these frocks as a girl. (No, not us.... Grannie!)

Shambellie House form the West including the fabulous wicker sculpture

We had a great day out including lunch in the charming painted wood panelled Tea Room. Homemade soup, cakes and a proper coffee were our choice, they were very tasty and the prices were very reasonable. The museum has a permanent exhibition of Victorian and 20th Century fashion, there is even an opportunity to play at dressing up. We had a laugh trying on the corsets, I managed to reduce my waistline by 1", a major feat, but I nearly passed out in the process. Should not of had that extra slice of cake in the cafe!

Whirling Dervish living sculpture by Trevor Leat - in the grounds of Shambellie House 
The exhibition and Museum is open  1 April - 31 October 2012
Cost: Free with price of admission
Shambellie House New Abbey, Dumfries DG2 8HQ Tel: 0300 123 6789

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