In Gallery 5 at the Museum of Childhood, there is a room setting of a children’s party. It’s one of my favourite parts of the museum – a strange group of mannequins dressed in various costumes, with toys and games spread round their feet and 30-year-old plastic food sitting uneaten on the table.
Two of the costumes in the display were sent to the museum by Joan Somerville in 1982. She wrote at the time that she had “come across the enclosed items which I kept for sentimental reasons… I trust you will not be offended by my sending them without prior consultation”.
They were a lovely green velvet Elizabethan-style costume, which Joan remembered had been “made for me by an Indian tailor in Madras over 55 years ago” and a Norwegian national costume “sent to me after the War by Norwegians I befriended during their stay here while Norway was occupied”.