Who Do You Think You Were?

Dressing for Work in Regency Holborn

An intergenerational project from June to September 2012…

The idea

To bring together local older people with colourful pasts and 15 – 19 year olds interested in their futures through the strange magic of Sir John Soane’s Museum, intergenerational skills-sharing and a world of Regency work-wear to result in some (very) retro costume-making and imaginative animation…

The people involved

Holborn Community Association
Margaret who was a nurse in the 1950s, Flo who worked in a cigarette factory during WW2, Duncan whose longest job lasted 6 months – in a paper mill, Edna a couturier making high-end ladies fashions, and many more…

University of the 3rd Age (U3A)
A group of older people with expertise in costume-making and a passion for Regency costume.

Local young people
15 – 19 year olds interested in animation and costume-making and willing to dedicate 42 hours of their summer to the project.
Some 30cm artists’ mannequins…

The Project

Over six weeks, Margaret, Flo, Duncan, Edna and others at Holborn Community Association discussed occupations they had done throughout their lives and used craft techniques to make figures of themselves dressed for work…

A group of U3A members took these costumes, transformed them into their Regency equivalents, and created costumes for 30cm artists’ mannequins accordingly.

Young people thought about their future careers and began to learn animation skills.
All three groups met over two days to share stories and create a storyline for the animation.








During the final week U3A members taught young people how to create costumes for their mannequins, everyone helped build the animation set and the young people animated the mannequins with the help of U3A members.

After the Project

• The set of costumed mannequins will go into Sir John Soane’s Museum’s handling collection and will be used by young people when devising and delivering object handling sessions for their peers and hopefully for older people too to keep the intergenerational theme.
• The animation will feature on the Museum’s website.
• The mannequins and animation will be part of the Bloomsbury Festival
• The older people from Holborn Community Association are currently helping the Museum create a reminiscence kit
• Young people from the project are attending the Museum’s youth panel
• Relationships have been established with U3A to facilitate further Shared Learning Projects with the Museum.