Olive Matthews Collection

sack back dress

The Olive Matthews Collection trust was established in 1969. This spectacular collection features many items of national significance. It contains over 4,000 men's, women's and children's fashionable clothes dating from c.1700 to the present. They help to reveal the history of dress and textiles throughout the centuries, highlighting changes in style, fashion and fabrics.

The Olive Matthews Collection also includes many small decorative accessories. It is rich in shoe buckles, delicate beadwork purses lace work and exquisite embroidery.

Academic researchers and students wishing to consult items not currently on display or use the library facilities are welcome to do so by prior appointment. Please email [email protected] to make an appointment.


Tudor gentleman's night cap

Like all collections-based charities the Olive Matthews Collection welcomes donations which fit into the museum’s collecting policy and will purchase outstanding items from time-to-time. It will continue to plan for the long-term and adapt and change its approach informed by professional advice and public responses to its work of caring for its collections and entertaining and informing the widest range of individuals and organisations that enjoy its collections.