The History Troupe


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Madame Clapham Talk + The Strange Death of Corsetry

  • Kingston Theatre Hotel Kingston Square Hull, England United Kingdom (map)
Death of Corsetry Digital Image.jpg

Madam Clapham fills Kingston Square once again.

From Monday to Wednesday evening, The History Troupe will host a Talk on Madame Clapham followed by The Strange Death of Corsetry – a 1 Act Play about her life and times. Men beware, you are all part of this story so don’t be put off by the corsets. The talk, given by Rob Bell, explores the context of women in society from around the 1880s through to when Madame Clapham’s Salon closed in 1967.

The Salon, located in what is now the Kingston Theatre Hotel, with up to 200 seamstresses in its pomp served the establishment with gowns of distinction – matching the style and cachet of London and Paris. Princess Maude of Norway, daughter of Queen Victoria was a client. This talk is evolving all the time with more information on the working life of the seamstresses and other salons across Hull at this time.

Then, The Strange Death of Corsetry. This popular play explores the life of seamstresses and the shifting fashion scene. Before the war all is long and elegance funded by the aristocracy. The War puts paid to all of that with aristocratic women shifting to make do and mend; a dramatic decline in servants and, women working in munitions factories gaining independence? All this against a rising tide of suffragette inspired clamour for the Vote.

The talk sets the scene and the play asks the question – how did Madame Clapham respond to the shifts on fashion and the role of women across society. Ailsa Oliver plays a formidable Madame Clapham; Soraya Hussain, her put upon and loyal assistant; Tarin Puckering an awkward and energetic seamstress and James Crowther the rising young clerk with an attitude that comes straight out of the chauvinist rule book!

Come along and explore the role of women in Hull from 1900 through to the 1920s.

Venue: The Kingston Theatre Hotel, The Snob’s Suite

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