A colour advert from 1956 from the fashion label Doree Leventhal. The model is wearing a sleeveless black gown with bows on the shoulders, white elbow length gloves, and a full skirt. Across the bodice and skirt are white dots and a floral design. It says a short evening dress in a Martin and Savage velvet made with Courtaulds rayon.
1950s Fashion | Historic Non Fiction | Oral History | Public History | The House Of Mirelle

Diary: The House of Mirelle Book-Progress Along The Way

June 21, 2017

(Main photo: Doree Leventhal Ltd dress: advertised in Britannia and Eve 1st December 1956.) 

It seems entirely right to type a progress blog as the weather sits half and half between Winter and Spring.

Outside it’s like a cold engine starting but behind the scenes things are changing.

Even the birds and wildlife are perky and this week I saw the first bee of 2017 sleepily heading towards a plant in my garden; Spring is on its way.

There’s burgeoning and stirring with The House of Mirelle book too.

1st January was the start line for writing the book proper and it’s 6 weeks past that date.

So what’s been happening….

Well, 2016 was a bumper year for all things Mirelle.

So much happened and most of it propelled the book along in the ways it needs to be propelled before any words can be committed to paper.

2017 came in with a bang and as the sound of the fireworks faded the next thing that happened was that the Mirelle research went through an unexpected and completely welcome revolution.

The first few weeks of 2017 has been like one of those books where you think you’ve got a handle on the plot, the characters and what’s happening then something comes along to completely and utterly turn it on its head.

Tell me more!  

Within the first week of January, new people appeared out of nowhere and introduced themselves.

Like distant family members from lands I would never visit these people were part of the ‘Find List’ but by the end of 2016 they were lost in the mists of time for good.

Quite reasonably I decided, at the end of last year, they will never be found but no! 2017 had other plans.

2017 has been all about the latter years of Mirelle…

Since January the pages have been changing.

The new people are adding new insights, information and artifacts.

I’ve been surprised and with every new bit of information, thrilled by this unexpected turn of events.

Pictures, memories and conversations are adding to the story and they’re filling in the years that are so near you can almost reach out and touch them.

Now the complete story of Mirelle is apparent, it’s changed the plan of the book too.

All change! 

New people coming forward has turned what was known beforehand into a new story all of its own.

They’ve changed the chapters and the focus too.

Looking at themes there are those that happened throughout the 40 years of its life, not just selected bits of it.

The Mirelle poem

A poem runs through my mind while I’m working:

“fashions, the models, The Showroom and The Workroom

customers, clients and fashion shows too.

Mira and Molly and Hull’s landscape changing

Mirelle lasted all the way through.”

Mira’s creative mind would have enjoyed this playful rhyme.

The beginning and the end 

The Big Mirelle Database sets all the research out in date order and each entry tells the story from start to end.

The earliest date in it is 1823 and it’s a family history record, a birth that happened in Nottingham.

The latest is 2012 and it’s the close of The Methodist Central Hall in King Edward Street.

What’s written between is the book and material for lectures and talks as well.

Some sections “are writing themselves.” These are the bits where research has finished.

As far as I know there are no more stones to be overturned, no more surprises to surprise and no more things to discover.

More sections are being added in thanks to the new people though – each is a thrill.

2017 has been a revelation and a revolution set off with a spark of the new.

© Carrie Henderson 2017