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Dress - Day dress

From the Collection of Brighton Historical Society First Floor Brighton Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

A silver and brown striped silk taffeta dress comprising separate bodice and skirt.
The dress features a high round neckline fastening down the centre front with concealed hook and eye closures with ten (two missing) decorative brown silk velvet buttons. The front and back feature a briown silk velvet ribbon that forms a v shape from the shoulder to the centre front just below the bust and centre back below the shoulder blades. From the ribbon falls a brown and silver silk fringe approx seven cms deep. The bodice is shaped and boned into the waist and finishes in a deep v over the stomach. At the back the bodice is shaped to the body finishing in a smaller curved v over the small of the back. The sleeve attaches to the bodice at the true shoulder and falls in a pagoda sleeve to the mid forearm. The sleeve is also trimmed with brown silk velvet ribbon near the base of the sleeve. The full skirt is pleated at the waist, falling to the floor, longer at the back to accommodate the crinoline.
Object Registration
mrs. jessie somerville singer, elizabeth martin, mr. edward singer, 'somerville' 100 new street brighton
Historical information
A dress believed to have belonged to an ancestor of Mrs. Jessie Somerville Singer (nee Watson) 1849 – 1935. Given the dress dates from circa 1850 possibly someone from one generation previous possibly her mother Elizabeth Martin.
Jessie Somerville Singer was the second wife of Mr. Edward Singer (1829 – 1904) of ‘Somerville’ New St. Brighton Beach.

Mr Singer’s first wife Maria died in 1861 and their son William approximately 12 months later. In the 1861 census of North Bradley England, Mr. Singer was recorded as a carpenter journeyman. After this tragedy Edward, aged 30, left England to start a new life in Australia. He emigrated as an unassisted passenger on the steamship ‘Great Britain’ departing Liverpool and arriving in Melbourne in April 1863. Edward worked as a joiner and overseer for a timber merchant in Franklin Street Melbourne.

In December 1869 he bought a property at 1115 Hoddle Street, East Melbourne, between Hotham and George Streets. At some stage he also acquired 1117 Hoddle Street. He also owned another property in Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy.

On July 10th 1873 Edward married Jessie Somerville Watson, the daughter of William Watson and Elizabeth Martin

They lived at Hoddle street for some years, until they lived at Rushall Crescent, North Fitzroy then in the 1880’s Edward is recorded as a joiner in the then semi rural suburb of Brighton.

The house ‘Somerville’ was built by the Singers in c1880 at 100 (now 78) New Street Brighton. The family moved there when Edward retired early, from North Fitzroy and lived there until 1941. ‘Somerville’ was sold, the house demolished and the land divided in the 1930’s. Edward and Jessie appear to have lived comfortably.

Edward died on 30th July 1909. Jessie died on 11th November 1935.

Mrs. A. Rodin Cook (donator) is the granddaughter of Walter Francis Newing was Jessie’s grandson. Walter Newing had a small printing business in Bay Street and from 1910 lived at Kinane Street. He was secretary of the Life Saving Club that stood at the end of Kinane st in the 1920’s and 30’s.
When Made
Circa 1850
Many members of the Singer family have lived in and around Brighton for many years, with the first recorded domicile in the 1880’s.
Last updated
17 Oct 2018 at 11:25AM