Historical information

The dress was in the cupboard of Muriel Kerr, the donor's recently deceased mother. The donor remembers being shown it and trying it on in the late '70s or early '80s and being told that it belonged to her great-grandmother, Lilian Armstrong Ballantine (nee Power) [1887-1967]. Lilian Ballantine lived at 31 Harp Road (now the site of the Leo Baeck Centre) from the early 1920s to 1967. Lilian's married Archibald Dill Ballantine [1883-1947], in 1910. He was a member of the Monumental firm of A&G Ballantine, responsible for the Kew War Memorial (and possibly the Springthorpe Memorial). Lilian was highly involved with the Finlay McQueen Memorial Church [ie the East Kew Presbyterian Church]. Lilian's daughter, Mary (the donor's grandmother) married Alan McQueen, the son of Finlay McQueen, the first Minister of the East Kew Church. Mary Macqueen lived at 1 Oswin Street; she was a well-known artist.


The dress is significant due to its associations with a family with strong connections, through a number of generations, to Kew East and its spiritual institutions. The garment's integrity and design also contribute to its aesthetic significance as a representative item of women's outerwear during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Physical description

Pale blue striped muslin single-piece dress with lace, tulle and embroidery at the neck and on the cuffs. The lace at the neck and cuffs is embroidered with coloured flowers, and edged with tulle. Bordering the v-neckline is a deeper blue guipure lace (possibly added later). There is a satin flower on the right side of the skirt which gathers the hem, exposing the deeper blue cotton underskirt. The dress has a narrow band of blue satin at the high waist. The cotton underskirt is attached by thread in places to the outer layer. Both the outer and under layers are attached with metal hooks and eyes. Edging the cuffs and hem of the dress is blue commercial fringing. The exterior of the dress has a slight brown tinge which is not apparent on the inside hem, suggesting that it has been discoloured through exposure. There are minor stains.