Fancy Dress for the Fab Feb Photo Festival – Day 3


When you were a child did you go to community Fancy Dress parties or concerts or had they gone out of vogue?

4 x 7UP collage

My “Local”

The local community hall was not too far from our house and had been built in 1929 when the estate was newly developed.  By then my grandparents had been living there for some years. As a child I went to kindergarten in the hall briefly, and dancing even more briefly. I also recall that my parents used to go square dancing there when I was a youngster. Even though my memory is fuzzy on the topic, I’m reasonably sure that a family in the next street minded me. I don’t think my grandparents ever did, probably because my grandmother didn’t approve of dancing, thanks to her conservative Presbyterian views.  Memory can be so unreliable about some things I find.

It seems that this hall had a tradition of hosting community events which included fancy dress competitions. In 1932 my father had won the “Most Original” prize as a baker at one of these events. I have to wonder how a baker might have been dressed originally but that will remain a mystery, and of course my grandmother was a professional dressmaker so that may have helped.

Do you remember the ice cream people who used to walk round the movie theatre in the intervals?

Do you remember the ice cream people who used to walk round the movie theatre in the intervals?

pauleeln fancy dress

Pauleen082A quick search of Trove reveals just how popular these competitions/balls/socials were at least until I was a child. They weren’t the same as dress-up performances for a song or poem or specific event, like Christmas or Easter. I certainly don’t remember that my children had special fancy dress events very often, though we do have a few photos -which I’m not allowed to share here <smile>.

My very vague memory suggests that prize winners in these fancy dress concerts/socials/whatever usually won some small prize. Like most children’s concerts, the pressure was on the Mums, and perhaps the occasional artistic father (not mine!), to come up with something that made their child feel special and maybe even win a small prize.

Mum in fancy dress. That's a train she's holding up.

Mum in fancy dress. That’s a train she’s holding up.

I remember feeling pretty special in my fancy outfits with a little bit of make-up. I have no recollection of ever winning a prize. Oh for Trove to be digitised a little closer in time.

Fab Feb image

Family Hx writing challenge

This post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.

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11 thoughts on “Fancy Dress for the Fab Feb Photo Festival – Day 3

  1. You all were quite the fancy dresseruppers! I have nothing like that from my childhood. I guess we dressed up for Easter and for the several dance concerts we were in for Ballet class. For Halloween I remember wearing some of my mother’s skirts and being a gypsy.

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    • Yes it seemed to be a “thing” in that era. I only did ballet for a while so don’t have anything from that but I do remember making my daughter’s costume while she lasted with it.

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  2. Just caught up on your Fab Feb Photo Collage intro and first 3 days – such lovely photos and fascinating insights. We have boxes of old photos – I’d love my Dad to help to sort them out, so we don’t lose the stories associated with them

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    • Great to hear from you – sorry my response took a while -it disappeared into the Spam. Definitely try to get him to tell you about the photos (record the stories on a dictaphone if possible)…it would be a shame to lose the background to the photos.

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  3. I have always been a boring old so and so and remained as far away as possible from any requirement to dress up.

    You mention the ice cream sellers during the pictures. In 2008 we went to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in Annan, South west Scotland. The whole cinema was quite small around say 50 foot long the screen about 30 foot wide. Half way through the film, it stopped and the lights went up and an announcement that refreshments were available but their was no seat service. We looked at each other in disbelief, I thought that went out with the arc? Anyway, hubby headed off to get popcorn even though we had eaten a haggis supper before going in.

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    • I’m much the same these days Julie, but I suppose in those days it appealed to the “dress ups” play in me. How interesting about the Scottish movie theatre…I haven’t seen or heard of that for yonks. Popcorn plus haggis defies the imagination ;-)

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  4. Again a lovely collection of photographs. I cannot remember fancy dress parties or festivals, but I did take part every year in my local village Gala Day, with the Rose Queen, bands, processions and I was in the group of girls who danced on the open air stage (weather permitting). Mothers did a wonderful job in creating our dresses, especially considering this was not long after the war. My main memory was the torture of having my hair put in rags over night to try and create ringlets. We do have a photograph of my brother dressed up as a Beefeater (Yeoman of the Guafrd). My mother adapted an old red suit of hers and even dyed reg tights to match – plus made the brimmed hat decorated with red & whtie roses. .I have no idea how my brother chose to go along with this costume, let alone wear tights! He won first p/rize, though, much to my mother’s delight. .

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    • Isn’t it interesting the fancy dress events were more common here…perhaps because we didn’t have Rose Queens and the like. It would have been good fun to be involved with those, and mothers did indeed do a great job especially the post-war limitations. Love the thought of your brother’s costume-she went to a lot of trouble, not least getting him to wear tights etc ;-)

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  5. Fancy dress is a really common thing with students in our area still but it’s shocking how much it’s fallen in popularity with the house party crowd. I used to go to many costume parties throughout the year to celebrate birthdays and other occasions but few people do it anymore. I can’t pin it down to any one thing either.

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