Wedding dress and bridesmaid dress
These links take you to other dresses from Something old, Something new:
- Victorian dress
- Mrs Redhead's dress
- The Hinckley dress
- India dress
- Cash's costume
- Wedding ensemble
- Undocumented dress
- Whitakers dress
- Mrs Taylor's dress
- Maureen Jones' dress
- Susan Firth's dress
- Rita Brierley's dress
- Joan Schofield's dress
- Christine Connor's dress
- Bride's and bridesmaid's dresses
- Christine Thomas' dress
- Diane Price's dress
- Joan McGreevy's dress
Pamela Beattie, née Hark, wore the green dress made by Mrs Heaton when she was bridesmaid for her sister in 1961. After her sister’s marriage she returned to Mrs. Heaton to have her wedding dress made. Mrs. Heaton liked to ‘know’ her brides.
By the late 1950s Mrs. Heaton dominated the Bolton wedding dress market.
Bolton brides would beat a path to her door hoping to ‘get on her books’ and have one of her inspired designs.
Heaton had to somehow limit the number of clients that she took on.
She did this not on a first come first served basis, but by making a judgement based on two criteria.
Either the woman had to already have an established relationship with her (although this could be quite tenuous) or she had to have heard of the woman through some degree of celebrity or title.
One of her ex-staff, Margaret Park explains:
"We made for one or two footballer’s girlfriends - wives. Ray Parry… [of] Bolton Wanderers… and I remember making one of the wrestlers. …Vic Faulkner, he was one of the Royal Brothers. She loved anything like that, because – She was very arty wasn’t she? If she knew of them, they were in."
"Because if the doorbell went, and I went [to answer it] and [they would say] “I’d like to book a wedding” [I’d ask] “When for?” And I’d go back and ask her and she’d say “do we know them?” And I’d say, “Well, you made her mother’s” And she’d say “oh right”."
"“We”, I mean it might be thirty years ago, but they were old customers. She liked her connection, didn’t she!"
Pamela had no problem getting on to Mrs Heaton books because she was the third generation in her family to have dresses made by Heaton. Pamela explains:
"Well mummy had her dress made by Poppy. They were friends…. I think they were probably at school – I’m not certain but I think they might have been because mummy obviously knew her very well, and then mummy’s sister Aunty Vera, she made her dress."
"I think she made mummy’s brother’s wife’s dress, and then she made my sister’s dress and my dress, and she had made lots of things for my grandma’, and she’d made mummy’s outfit for my sister’s wedding, her outfit for my wedding, and mummy had had lots of evening dresses and things made by her and suits and things. So they did seem to be very good friends."
The bridesmaid and the bride
Before being the bride, Pamela was bridesmaid for her sister Pauline on 4th November 1961. For this she wore the bright green dress with the subtle quilted detailing on the back.
Then on 3rd March 1962 she wore her own wedding dress made by Heaton. The recent royal wedding had been Pamela’s initial inspiration:
"I would have seen Princess Margaret’s wedding not that long before and I thought her dress was beautiful. So I wanted something similar. Quite plain but with a nice line was what I wanted."
"But when I was a little girl I had a book of Cinderella and she had a very glittery, very sparkly huge dress, and as a little girl I always thought I would be married in a dress like that. [laughs] So you do change your mind."
At 44 Bark Street Heaton took her cue, and proceeded to drape fabric over Pamela in various ways. The dress developed from there.