Monday, 18 February 2013

Knickers, Nighties and St Valentine

'Undying love' was the subject under discussion at Spixworth WI on 14th February, when I visited to do my presentation on Queen Victoria.

Undying love, and of course, the usual conversations one gets when one combines a group of women of a certain age with suggestive historical underwear! NEVER assume, dear reader, that WI ladies are prudish.

I was given a beautiful long Victorian nightdress by a lady at Drayton WI last year, and I have incorporated it into my Queen Victoria talks. The idea was to wear it over the usual bloomers and chemise to begin the talk, and then take it off in order to get dressed.

Well, I couldn't get it off! We had been talking about the interesting coincidence of the arrival of the sexy babydoll nightdress at the same time as the advent of contraceptive pills in the 1960s, and how before then the ladies were quite literally 'buttoned up'- maybe to try to reduce the amount of babies produced. You can imagine the bawdy atmosphere as I struggled with the linen-covered buttons, and got hopelessly tangled up in the frills and the yards and yards of white linen. We came to the conclusion that most Victorian husbands probably would have given up after all that...  

*Picture shows me at Brooke WI last year demonstrating the alluring qualities of Victorian bloomers.

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