The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes


28 February 2023
We all love an old book, or a junk-shop treasure. And when the groaning covers of a Victorian scrapbook were placed in fashion historian Kate Strasdin's hands, she knew she had stumbled upon something special.

The scrapbook contained more than 2,000 snippets of fabric, that had been carefully collected and stored from 1838, for several decades into the 1870s.

Protected from the light, the snippets show the kaleidoscope of colours that our more comfortably off Victorian ancestors would have worn. Yet the story goes beyond this. Weaving together the detective story, historian Kate Strasdin scours the scrapbook for clues to identify who it was who had created the collection, and also places the book in its time - reflecting on the many ways in which this single scrapbook provides a record of the industry, empire and drastically changing fashion scene of so much of the Victorian era.

See an interview with Kate Stradin below.

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Journey back in time and explore the story behind a Victorian woman's scrapbook of in excess of 2,000 snippets of fabric in Kate Strasdin's The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes, published by Chatto Windus, Penguin, hard cover, RRP £22.

To view a selection of just some of the fabrics, click here.