Object Highlight #5 – Mini Sewing Kit

This weeks Object Highlight comes to you from from Beatrice, the Learning and Outreach Apprentice.

‘Every time I walk past the Trowbridge Life case this catches my eye which is surprising because of how small it is! This Victorian sewing kit and shell tape measure have been beautifully crafted which is something I really admire. The sewing box is covered in and lined with silk fabric and has small compartments that contain reels of thread, a thimble, a pin cushion, pins and needles and dates from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. The attention to detail and the delicate look of this sewing kit is just amazing. The box itself is tiny – just 9cm long by 7cm wide!

Victorian silk covered sewing kit

Another associated object that always catches my eye is the conch shell children’s tape measure. Its another tiny object with a big draw factor – this one is 3.5cm long, even small than the kit! Hidden within the conch shell is a length of silk ribbon with inch measurements drawn on it and a little handle to wind the ribbon back in to the shell. It is such a quirky and unusual use of a conch shell.

Conch shell which has a tape measure ribbon wound up inside it


Both these objects come from our Whittaker Collection -a collection of just over 1400 domestic items from a Bratton family, donated by Kathleen and Marjorie Reeves in 1977. Many of these objects date to the Victorian era and contain a stunning range of really unusual objects that made up part of the day to day life of well off Victorians. The collection has a lot of craft based objects and these two are just a few of the many truly amazing jewels in our collection.’

Object Highlight
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