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22nd April 2024

On the Post this week it's the Persephone Festival which we hope everyone who came to Bath enjoyed. The hub of the three days was the Persephone Tea Room at the Assembly Rooms where tea and cake and brief encounters with fellow readers were enjoyed between events. (A clip of the tea room scene at Milford Junction in Brief Encounter (1945) played on a loop in the background.)


19th April 2024

Fashion City also considers the Swingin' Sixties and Seventies in the context of the hugely successful high street labels and names created by London's Jewish entrepreneurs. It features businesses such as Marks & Spencer, Moss Bros., Wallis, and Chelsea Girl (later River Island). This is the Manchester branch with its ultra-modern steel facade in 1971, which definitely made many older shoppers feel that It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty.


18th April 2024

One of the fascinating elements of Fashion City is the number of stories of successful female clothes designers, makers, and businesswomen. Sophie Rabin was was born in Poland in 1902 and came to London in 1914. She used her skills and creativity to work as a bespoke dressmaker, and made cleverly constructed garments for herself, such as this evening dress with matching jacket from the early 1950s.


17th April 2024

Huge numbers of women were employed in the garment trades in the East End of London, and many were trained for the 'needle-trades' at the Shoreditch Technical College which was established in 1906. According to the beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue, the highest standards of handwork and embroidery were taught in preparation for the bespoke dressmaking industry. This is a 1907 photo of a readymade clothing class at the College which in 1966 would eventually form part of the London College of Fashion.

 


16th April 2024

The Fashion City exhibition looks at the contribution of Jewish workers and designers to the pre-eminence of London's clothes and fashion worlds, and shares many areas of interest with Persephone Books. We have several authors whose novels set in London complement the span of histories on display; above is Whiteley's department store, opened in 1863 in Bayswater which is the setting for Reuben Sachs.


15th April 2024


'Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style' at the Museum of London Docklands has just been extended until 7th July. It is well worth the trip east to Canary Wharf in order to be immersed in a cleverly designed display - there is an 'Underground tunnel' linking the East and West Ends of London - with outstanding contents including frocks, gowns, suits, shoes, hats, wedding dresses, and photos. This is Schneiders Garment Factory in Stepney in 1917.


12th April 2024

Although thrillers such as those on our list have been published for decades, the category of 'domestic noir' novels written by female authors has expanded enormously in recent years, due in part to the successes of Gone Girl (2012) by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train (2015) by Paula Hawkins. Gone Girl was made into a tense 'marital mystery' in 2014 with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike (above). 

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