How the first world war liberated women’s wardrobes

Design by Sadie Williams. Photograph: Jez Tozer

News of an interesting new exhibition, Fashion & Freedom, at the Manchester Art Gallery from 13 May – 27 November 2016. It’s then touring – see this page for details.

As well as what Helen Pidd writing for The Guardian calls the obvious ‘upsides’ (you know, peace and all that):

the war liberated women from their corsets and full skirts when they were drafted in to run the country while the men were dying in muddy ditches across northern France. After finding that you can’t conduct a bus or forge steel in a floor-length silk day dress very well with a full bustle, these emancipating women started to experiment with far more practical clothes and hairstyles as they carried out their new roles in society.

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Evelyn Dunbar: the genius in the attic

One Sunday night two years ago, Ro Dunbar was watching Antiques Roadshow when she noticed something shocking. One of the people queuing in the rain to have their antiques valued had just produced a painting by her long-dead relative Evelyn Dunbar. “This is a masterpiece,” said painting expert Rupert Maas. “It is such an extraordinary picture.” Maas was worried about how to value a work by “what is perhaps an unknown artist”. In the end, he estimated £40,000-£60,000.

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‘The ghost of an awful energy’ – the great Kent explosion of 1916

In the aftermath of 2 April 1916, men plunged into drainage dykes to retrieve the dying and the dead; they threw timbers from ruined buildings across the sea of mud surrounding the crater, and pulled their comrades, or what was left of them, from the ooze. Some stood up within the circle of destruction to find they were naked and almost unharmed, but the men beside them blown to pieces. Others had died 100 yards away, victims of flying debris or the blast wave’s capriciousness.

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