Calderdale, Halifax, Skircoat Green

Last chance to see Bankfield Museum Festive Fashion Collection

As the kids were growing up, we spent many an hour in Bankfield Museum. Great for parking, and always lots of space for exploring. Here’s a quick reminder from Calderdale Museums about Lucy’s collection

Time is running out to see the unique collection of dress historian and author Lucy Adlington at Bankfield Museum in Halifax.

Visitors to the museum have until Saturday 23 December to enjoy the ‘Opening the Wardrobe’ exhibition, which has been on display in the Fashion Gallery on the top floor of the museum since February 2023

The free exhibition celebrates women’s clothes and the stories they tell and features highlights from Lucy Adlington’s private costume collection, which spans over 250 years of women’s clothing design, wearing, making and sharing.

Each garment featured as part of the exhibition has its own story, such as the remarkable journey of a Second World War coat, or the flamboyant fun of 1970s clubbing gear. Other extraordinary pieces include an artistic re-creation of the dress from Gustav Klimt’s famous artwork, ‘Woman in Gold’.

Alongside the exhibition, a series of History Wardrobe presentations have taken place throughout the year. The final of the year’s live presentations by Lucy Adlington is ‘Top of the Frocks – a 1980s Christmas’ on Thursday 30 November. Tickets are available at

Lucy has been collecting clothing and delighting audiences with celebrations of clothes and their history for 22 years with her company History Wardrobe. They have performed over 2,000 shows throughout the country, including at Shibden Hall and Bankfield Museum.

Comments from visitors have included:

“A fabulous exhibition full of colour and life. A great way to show and teach my daughter history and very nostalgic for nana, thank you!”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:

“It’s been a year of fantastic fashions at Bankfield Museum, with the Opening the Wardrobe exhibition receiving some incredible feedback from visitors. There’s not long left until the wardrobe closes its doors, so if you haven’t been already, or you want a return visit, make sure you head to the museum before the exhibition ends at Christmas.

“The series of accompanying History Wardrobe events have been thoroughly entertaining and there’s still chance to see the final live presentation, which focuses on festive fashions from the 1980s – expect a riot of colour, power dressing and ultra-glam styles from an infamous fashion decade!”

Lucy Adlington has published several young adult novels and a number of non-fiction books on dress history, including New York Times bestseller The Dressmakers of Auschwitz. A new illustrated publication, ‘Opening the Wardrobe’ accompanies the exhibition.

She said of her Bankfield residency:

“I love the way clothes connect us to our lives… and our pasts. I’m delighted to be showcasing some of the fascinating and fabulous items from my collection. It’s always a pleasure to work with Bankfield Museum – what a treat to take over their amazing fashion gallery for a year!”

The Opening the Wardrobe exhibition is open until Saturday 23 December. It is free to enter and suitable for all ages. For more information about the exhibition, visit

Please note the exhibition is on the top floor of the historic building. Please contact to discuss any access requirements prior to visiting. A video tour will be available to view on the ground floor.

Bankfield Museum is free to enter and open Tuesdays to Saturdays and Bank Holidays from 10am to 4pm. Donations to support the collections and exhibitions are always welcome.  For more information about Bankfield Museum and other Calderdale Museums, including the latest events and booking information, visit

Calderdale’s culture and heritage is a key part of its distinctiveness, and in 2024 for our 50th anniversary the borough will host its own Year of Culture. In the build up to this major events programme, the CultureDale brand continues the development of the borough’s growing profile as a vibrant cultural destination. Find out more at or @CultureDale2024 on social media.

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