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

Black silk linear quilted uppers of single piece construction with feature centre front vamp seam. Horsehair wadding can be seen along the side of the forefoot where the upper is coming away from the leather soles. Approx 4.5 cm plain black silk covered heel with leather top piece missing from right shoe. Both shoes feature the head of a small preserved mink with glass eyes. The toppling of the vamp features a decorative strip of mink fur. Inside of both shoes is a gold printed manufacturers label on the black silk insole.
4 1/2
Attached Files
Object Registration
victoriana, mink pelt, taxidermy, 1890s, fur, di reidie, vintage clothing
Historical information
This item is part of the Di Reidie collection. Diane Reidie was a much loved volunteer and President of Brighton Historical Society from 1999 until 2016. Originally from New Zealand, Di and her family lived in Male Street, Brighton for many years. A vibrant and energetic person with a zest for life and a gift for bringing people together, Di was a friend to many in the Bayside community and active in local community organisations. Her tireless work as President of BHS saw her named Bayside Citizen of the Year in 2008. As a seller and collector of vintage clothing, she was passionate about fashion history; one of her many enduring contributions to BHS was her extensive work in preserving, developing and promoting the Society's costume collection.

In 2018-19, Di donated more than one hundred items from her personal vintage clothing collection to the Society. The collection, which includes clothing, hats, handbags and shoes from local and international designers, is representative of Di's wide-ranging interests, colourful personality, creativity, humour and love of fashion and travel.

Di purchased these 1890s shoes around 1990 and recalled wearing them to approximately three events before she donated them to BHS in 2019. Di enjoyed the novelty and conversation they would inspire due to their unusual appearance by modern standards. The shoes are indicative of Di's playful approach to clothing and life.

The decorative preserved mink pelt with head featured on the vamps of these shoes is typical of Victorian era interest in and prevalent use of preserved animals for decorative purposes in clothing, millinery and household adornment. This fashion reflected social positioning of oneself as being affluent, educated and worldly. Following the death of Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert in 1861, the Queen's approach to mourning his death influenced social conventions for the public, with the wearing of black becoming a significant aspect of Victorian fashions.

The shoes were made by Kendal Milne & Co, a large department store on Deansgate, Manchester. It has traded under various names and owners since it opened in 1832; it traded as Kendal Milne & Co from 1862-1919, and continued to be known by this name for many years after. The store is currently owned by the House of Fraser department store chain and is known as House of Fraser Manchester.
When Made
Made By
Kendal Milne & Co (Retailer)
Inscriptions & Markings
Manufacturers label - Made expressly for Kendall Milne and Co, Manchester.
Last updated
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