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Hull Fashion History: The House Of Mirelle Wouldn’t, So I Had My Wedding Dress Made By Elsie Battle Instead. A Story From 1952.

June 21, 2017

“I was born and worked in Hull,” says Marie Jubb as she starts her story.

“I worked in a small office in a very big society on Lowgate but my bank was 3 or 4 doors away from The House Of Mirelle.”

“I was a Jaeger girl, I loved their clothes. Working in the office I had a new dress every day and high shoes. They had a head office in London and we had men coming to the office, so I had to be smart.”

“I used to be able to sit on my hair it was so long, I went to the hairdressers every week,” she continues.

“When Lady Mountbatten got married, I loved the dress. I was 20 in 1952 and I don’t want to shock you, but I wasn’t a traditional lady,” she laughs out loud.

British Pathe broadcast the wedding of Lady Patricia Mountbatten to cinema audiences in 1946

“We had a lot of rich people that lived where I lived,” says Marie.

My sisters got married in white but I wanted to get married in blue, I got the idea from Jean Opray when I saw hers. She lived down my road, she stole my thunder!” she laughs again.

“Her parents were fish merchants. My Dad was a policeman. I don’t know where she got her dress made,” she adds,”because I didn’t ask.”

“It was quite a talking point,” she continues, “she was a stunning redhead, I was a blonde.”

“I cut the wedding picture out from the Sunday paper just after their wedding. Then I had to pluck up courage to seek somewhere to get it copied.”

“Blue was my favourite colour. So I went for a blue dress. It was 1951 and I was getting  married in 1952.

“I took the newspaper cutting of Lady Mountbatten’s wedding into the House Of Mirelle but they said it wasn’t allowed, you know because they couldn’t copy it.”

“I saw one of the assistants and they sent me around the corner, saying  ‘go to Elsie Battle’s’ so I did. I think it was their sister shop, or it was owned by a sister. Anyway I went there to have it made.”

“Instead of having pointed sleeves, they chopped them off and just had them plain. I couldn’t have a coat the same as well so mine had strings to tie it.”

“My dress was strapless, with a halter neck so I could wear it as an evening dress. It was made in heavy taffeta, shot taffeta, in pale blue. It glistened. They sent it to London to be made.”

“I think it took 3 weeks to make after they had produced a drawing for me to approve. My mum said I was flying high and it would not be possible. I never knew what my sisters thought though,” Marie chuckles.

“I went into the King Edward Street shop and had a fitting there. I also picked up everything from that shop. I am thinking that perhaps my dress could have been made at Elsie Battle’s but was told that approval had to come from London!!”

“It was a long time ago, amazing how things change. I bet approval would not now be needed, just change the style,” she adds thoughtfully.

“I remember having my wedding veil done but, it wasn’t what I wanted,” she says, “it had no edging on it so it was all rough but there wasn’t any time to send it back. ”

“The head dress was like a little skull cap with flowers from side to side.”

“I still have the little flowers in my sewing box. I made it into a garter for my daughter when she got married.”

“She had my wedding dress for dressing up. I had it for quite a while but it got torn and, oh, by the 70s I threw it away.”

“Because I got married in blue, I carried red roses for love,” she said, “and my bridesmaid, I had one bridesmaid, she had a posy of anemones.”

The conversation shifts as Marie talked about another Hull shop that she remembers.

“There was a shop in Hull, it used to do a lot of embroidery things.”

“Mary Mountain ran the shop, it was on Holderness Road and I used to go in my lunch hour to look over table cloths, because I used to do a lot of embroidery.”

“No, it wasn’t Mary, it was Marjorie Mountain.”

“She was the best place to go if you wanted a table cloth or anything to embroider and she always had a lot of embroidery silks. I went to her to get things because I was embroidering things for my bottom drawer.”

“I did 12 napkins with Treasure Island on it. It’s not long ago that I threw away the receipt, I’m sorry to say,” her voice saddens slightly.

“My granddaughter wanted some silk for her going away so I didn’t think I needed it.”

“Oh that’s no matter,” I reply, “talking about these things is just as good, every bit as good as having the receipts. ” I say, meaning every word.

“It sounds to me like you really know your stuff about clothes,” I add, respectfully.

“I did start smoking once,” she answers, “but I gave up. I preferred having the money so I could spend it on shoes,” she says, and the conversation ended with an unequivocal note of resolve in her voice.

“Spoken like a true fashionista, Marie!” I said.

© HouseofMirelle.uk 2016. 

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