A Vintage Affair

You may have noticed that we have a rather exciting event planned for Cliffe Castle next month.  Kirsty Gaskin, Assistant Curator has written our latest blog looking at how the ‘Off the Wall’ vintage wedding fair came about .

She writes:

As well as keeping our current visitors happy and engaged in our museums and galleries part of my job as assistant curator is to attract new audiences. After lots of brainstorming and bouncing ideas of colleagues one idea seemed to stand out for an event at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley, the idea was to hold a vintage fair.

Cliffe Castle is a real treasure trove with a host of exhibits that would delight any vintage lover, and it feels like a natural setting for a vintage fair. I contacted various professionals in the vintage trade and was ecstatic when Caroline from Rose and Brown came back to me.  I have spent many an hour looking around fairs held by Rose and Brown, seeking out treasures and indulging in cake and tea, so it was lovely to finally meet the couple that put these events together and to have the chance to work alongside them.

We put our heads together to see how we could make our event stand out from all the others, and the idea of a Vintage Wedding Fair that would allow couples to create a wedding experience that is off the wall and individual opposed to your big budget off the peg wedding, began to form.


Off the wall side 2
Wedding Fair Flyer


When I brought idea back to the team at Cliffe Castle I was delighted to find that everyone was as excited about the idea as I was.

Our social history curator Heather Millard even adapted her planned costume exhibition to include a variety of wedding gowns dating from the 1860s to the present day, which enables the fair and the exhibition to compliment each other perfectly. The Fabric of Society exhibition is now open and runs until November 2015, with society costume displayed on the ground floor and the wedding dresses displayed on the first floor.  (Editor’s Note:  It gave me an great reason to get some of my favourite wedding dresses from our collection out on display!)

Mary Holden's Wedding Dress on display at Cliffe Castle.
Mary Holden’s Wedding Dress on display at Cliffe Castle.

Whilst we were making arrangements and sorting out the logistics of the event here at Cliffe Castle, Rose and Brown were working hard on bringing together a wide range of stall holders including genuine vintage wedding dresses and accessories, alternatives to traditional wedding attire, vintage jewellery, crockery, glassware and other one-off treasures, florists and photographers who specialise in bringing a vintage feel to their services, a humanist celebrant, a ‘time travelling’ gramophone DJ, talented makers creating silk flower headpieces, bespoke handmade invitations and gifts to list a few.

Ready to take some promotional photos

This project has presented me with a host of new challenges and experiences but one of the most enjoyable experiences so far was helping on the photo shoot that Rose and Brown arranged for the publicity. We spent the day with model Lexi Lee and hair stylist Katy Flanagan of Hula Hair delving through Caroline’s amazing collection of vintage dresses and accessories and watching as she created unusual but beautiful ensembles for Lexi to wear. The weather wasn’t as kind to us as it could have been as we ventured outside with a bunch of giant balloons pulling us along in the wind, but it’s definitely an experience that I won’t forget and certainly gave me a taster of the type of wonderful things that we’ll see at the fair.

Trying not to get blown away!


We hope that you will come along on the 9 and 10 May to enjoy the fair, the museum exhibits on display and the magnificent building. If you’re not getting married, then as Rose and Brown say it is still worth a visit if you’re planning a party, in love with fashion, fascinated by local or domestic history, a fan of Victorian architecture or like a taste of the bizarre where you’d least expect to find it….

Off the Wall side 1

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