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Downton Abbey exhibition brings glamour to the Harrogate Royal Pump Rooms

PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 October 2013

The Dowager Duchesss purple dress from the first series of Downton Abbey

The Dowager Duchesss purple dress from the first series of Downton Abbey

Archant

Fashion fans with a passion for Downton Abbey should brace themselves for a treat – Lady Sybil’s harem pants are coming to town!

Downton fans can marvel at the impressive detail of the costumesDownton fans can marvel at the impressive detail of the costumes

The style rebel’s silky trews are just one of the costumes from the wildly popular, multi-award winning ITV series being displayed at Harrogate Royal Pump Rooms in Crown Place until December 31st.

Remember this? Lady Edith looked a picture in this pink evening dressRemember this? Lady Edith looked a picture in this pink evening dress

For those of you who’ve been living in a cupboard under the stairs for the past few years, Downton Abbey revolves around a fictional Yorkshire estate not far from Ripon which provides the glamorous backdrop for the tumultuous lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. The first series, created by Julian Fellowes, spanned the two years before the First World War beginning with news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which set the story in motion.

‘It’s great to be bringing costumes from the Downton series here,’ said Ros Watson, curator of human history. ‘It’s the first time we have tried something like this at the Royal Pump Room Museum and we hope it will prove popular with our visitors, who always love to see costume.’

The exhibition of post-Edwardian fashions from the first series of Downton Abbey reflects the real life wardrobe choices of affluent visitors who flocked to the Royal Pump Rooms in North Yorkshire’s premier spa town in the years before the First World War to take the famous waters.

The costumes on display include evening dresses worn by sisters Lady Mary and Lady Edith as well as rebellious Lady Sybil’s harem pants, which caused quite a stir among Downton’s stiffer grandees. Style-conscious fans will also be able to peruse an outfit worn by the Dowager Duchess, played by the wonderfully haughty Dame Maggie Smith, day outfits worn by Mary, Edith and their mother Cora and, in stark contrast, a dour, buttoned-up maid’s outfit.

‘Alongside the costumes, we will be featuring smaller items from our own costume and jewellery collections in displays around the museum,’ added Ros.

The Royal Pump Rooms were originally built in 1842 to provide shelter for the town’s affluent visitors as they took the town’s restorative waters. They have now been transformed into a museum which provides a fascinating insight into old spa treatments, from peat baths to electric therapies, as well as housing artefacts from Harrogate’s art and museum’s collections and hosting a rolling programme of exhibitions.

The Royal Pump Room Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm, and from 2-4pm on Sunday. Admission is £3.85 (concessions £2.75 and children £2.25). For further details phone 01423 556188 or email museums@harrogate.gov.uk.

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