Me with Vera Lynn’s Wedding Suit!
Orange Silk Chiffon Dress by Colin Becke 1950
This week I’ve been concentrating on performing two styles of shows. The first my “Happy and Glorious” show to commemorate the Queens Accession which took place on the 6th February back in 1952 and a “Valentines Serenade” to tie in with Valentine’s Day on the 14th. Both are well tried and tested be-loved shows, but this year I’m adding in a few new romantic songs for Valentines including “My Funny Valentine” which I’m looking forward very much to performing on the day itself.
In between performances I’ve been busy in the office selling dates and it’s good to see the year taking shape. However it can be a little like buses with everything coming all at once and with people constantly requesting shows for the June Jubilee weekend. I’m fortunate some of my customers have chosen February instead which has helped me to share my time more successfully covering two points in the year for the Queen’s Accession.
Vera Lynn’s Evening Dresses!
It’s all about planning and mapping out important dates with suitable shows. Office work is just as crucial as the shows themselves and despite the long hours it always pays off in the end to be thorough. I’ve had too many late nights involving paper-work so yesterday due to a show being rescheduled at the last minute I was able to take the day off and head down to Ditchling in East Sussex.
Some of you may remember me mentioning in a previous blog the Vera Lynn Exhibition which is currently taking place at the Ditchling Museum of
1950’s Evening Gown by Colin Becke
Art + Craft. https://www.ditchlingmuseumartcraft.org.uk/ I’d been wanting to visit as soon as I knew the exhibition was taking place and Friday was the day when I was able to make that happen. I particularly wanted to see her stage dresses and the museum had some wonderful examples from her wardrobe on display from the 1950s & 60s.
The museum described the exhibition on their web-site as follows :-
Dame Vera Lynn: An Extraordinary Life showcases over 100 objects from the estate of the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’, including numerous previously unseen personal items.
An Extraordinary Life offers unparalleled insight into both the public and personal life of the singer, whose songs were crucial in maintaining morale during the Second World
Beautiful Dress Detailing!
War. The exhibition also reveals artworks by Dame Vera, who was an enthusiastic painter for much of her life. There are 20 works on display, comprising portraiture and still-lifes painted at her London home, following the Second World War, and at Ditchling, where she owned a home from 1944.
The exhibition chronicles the nine decades Dame Vera spent in the public eye, from her early days as a singer, to her wartime service in the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), through to her extensive post-war
Photos from Vera Lynn’s Career!
entertainment career and charitable works.
It took me two and a half hours to drive down due to the inevitable congestion on the M25. Ditchling Museum is a charming intimate space where you can get up close and take in all the items on display. I went especially to see Vera Lynn’s clothes and I enjoyed looking at the detail in her stage costumes. Many of her evening dresses had beautiful embellishments and the dresses which stood out for me were her evening gowns from the 1950s which were made by designer Colin Becke. I also found her letters very interesting too including one from the BBC
Another Beautiful Colin Becke Gown from 1952
inviting Vera Lynn to take part in a command performance at Windsor Castle for the Princess Elizabeth’s birthday. Other interesting items included her travel iron, Vera’s ivory wedding suit from the 1940s and photographs documenting her career.
Afterwards I visited the vintage Nutmeg Tree Tea room across the road from the museum. http://www.thenutmegtree.co.uk Rather appropriately I sat in the Vera Lynn room which had a wonderful display of photographs and paintings spanning Vera Lynn’s career. A popular destination for locals and visitors alike the tea room offered a wonderful selection of tea and cakes. Although I didn’t have much time to explore the village Ditchling looks charming and while I was having tea some local ladies were telling me that Vera Lynn was often seen in the high street when she lived in the village.
Travelling Abroad with Vera Lynn!
At the time I had no idea how close Ditchling is to Hurstpierpoint. I will be returning there in March when I’m booked to perform my WAAF “Battle of Britain” show at Danny House.
I must dash now as I have a “Valentine Serenade” to perform in Brackley later today and I must get ready. I wish you all a wonderful Valentines Day on the 14th and don’t forget I will be streaming live at 9pm from my Facebook page and sharing with Love of the Vintage and Love of the 40s on their Facebook page too, 1940s Event’s and
Tea at The Nutmeg Tree, Ditchling!
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉
14th February Live Stream 9pm