Last January I accepted my first ever commission, to assist Steven in reconstructing three full uniforms for performers (The Percy Tenantry Rifle Volunteers) at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. My work; to make three pairs of tailored regimental trousers; was especially valuable for the professional experience it provided. For both Steven and myself, it was a substantial step into the industry which gave insights to formal communication with customers, working cooperatively to meet deadlines, and harnessing the venue’s publicity to further promote our work.
No sooner had we delivered the uniforms to Alnwick, we were approached again to provide them with several more uniforms for their rapidly expanding cast of Volunteer Infantry reenactors, as well as uniforms for a newly founded Cavalry unit and Artillery unit based at the castle.
We quickly decided that the scale of this order would warrant a trip to Alnwick to consult the performers, discuss their requirements and take measurements in person. But having also heard tales of the castle’s extensive archives, and having received a tip-off from our contact that a tailcoat of late-Regency provenance had been unexpectedly discovered just one week previous, we resolved to combine the trip with a private exploration of the castle collections and archives.