Check out the outfits that people would have worn through the centuries at Derbyshire's oldest visitor attraction

Period costumes as worn by the Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian guests who visited Derbyshire’s oldest visitor attraction have gone on show to the public.

By Gay Bolton
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 3:00 pm

Fourteen life-sized mannequin figures, dressed in historically accurate clothing, populate A Mirror on the Past exhibition in the Masson Pavilion at the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath. Animated picture frames alongside the figures reveal information about each time period.

Rupert Pugh, development director of Heights of Abraham, said: “Everyone knows us for our famous cable cars which were introduced in 1984, but we wanted to shine a spotlight on the fact that people have been coming here since 1787, making us Derbyshire’s oldest visitor attraction. Those early visitors came here to experience the serenity and beauty of the inspiring views from the summit. We started to wonder what they looked like, what life would have been like for them, and gradually an idea emerged for this new exhibition. We’re very pleased with the end result, which is something totally new and different for our guests to enjoy”.

When it came to making and designing the costumes, the Heights turned to Arts University Bournemouth, which has an outstanding reputation for costume and wig making. Students from the BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design and BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance courses were commissioned to make the 14 costumes and the handmade wigs worn by many of the figures.

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Arts University student Hekla Bjarnadottir prepares one of the costumes.

The exhibition was opened by former West Derbyshire MP Matthew Parris and journalist Julian Glover.

A Mirror on the Past is the third new attraction to launch at Heights of Abraham this year, supporting the hilltop park’s 2022 theme: celebrating visitors from the past. Earlier this year a sculpture trail of willow figures made by Cheshire based artist Caroline Gregson opened at the summit, and on weekdays until the end of June historically costumed actors can be found walking the serpentine paths through what was once known as a “savage garden”, a popular term for wild and exotic locations first coined by the Georgians in the late 18th Century.

For more details about the Heights of Abraham go to www.heightsofabraham.com

Mannequins in A Mirror on the Past exhibition at the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath
The exhibition was opened by Matthew Parris and Julian Glover, pictured with Andrew and Vanessa Pugh who own the Heights of Abraham.