Learn more about the history of lingerie, corsets and skirt lifters with books from Budleigh’s museum

Fairlynch Museum volunteer Carol Ann Baker has written a book about Victorian skirt lifters

Fairlynch Museum volunteer Carol Ann Baker has written a book about Victorian skirt lifters - Credit: Fairlynch Museum

Two books written by Budleigh museum volunteers have exposed the history behind lingerie, corsets and Victorian ‘skirt lifters’. 

Fairlynch volunteer Carol Ann Walker’s book A History and Guide To Collection Ladies’ Antique Skirt Lifters aims to give prospective collectors and those interested in the history of such items an insight in to the world of skirt lifters. 

Carol Ann Walker, whose book aims to explain the history of the skirt lifter

Carol Ann Walker, whose book aims to explain the history of the skirt lifter - Credit: Carol Ann Walker

Up until now, there has been little information about the invention – created in Victorian times to raise women’s long skirts above the ‘filth and much’ of roads and walkways. 

While fellow volunteer Jill Salen has written two books – Corsets, published in 2008, and Vintage Lingerie: Historical Patterns and Techniques from 2011. 

The Vintage Lingerie book written by Fairlynch Museum volunteer Jill Salen

The Vintage Lingerie book written by Fairlynch Museum volunteer Jill Salen - Credit: Fairlynch Museum

The later covers 120 years and includes a range of garments with 30 fully annotated working patterns alongside drawings, photographs and practical advice. 

All three books are available from Fairlynch Museum’s online shop. 

Chairman of the Fairlynch, Trevor Waddington said: “Museum visitors may be surprised that we are experts in corsets, vintage lingerie and skirt lifters, alongside railways and Sir Walter Raleigh.  

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“But of course thanks to Joy Gawne, museum co-founder and president, we have always held an extensive costume collection and these books sit nicely within this specialism.  

“We are lucky to have such expert volunteers at the Museum.” 

Carol is a member of the history committee at the Museum and enjoys her role as a steward at Fairlynch. A History and Guide To Collection Ladies’ Antique Skirt Lifters is one of three books that she has published.  

Retired lecturer and author Jill Salen discovered the Fairlynch costume collection in 2018 when researching her next book and became a volunteer after retiring to Budleigh Salterton the following year.  

The three books are among the items, memorabilia and gifts being sold online, with the museum still closed due to the pandemic. 

Profits from each sale help to raise funds for the running costs of Fairlynch Museum. 

A spokesman for the museum said: “We are very grateful to Jill and Carole for allowing us to sell their books for the benefit of the Fairlynch Museum.”  

For more information, visit the Fairlynch Museum website 

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