Downton Abbey costumes draw crowds to Pump Room Museum

18/10/13  Some of  the costumes  from Downton Abbey on display in the Pump Room museum in Harrogate.
18/10/13 Some of the costumes from Downton Abbey on display in the Pump Room museum in Harrogate.

Costumes from the hit ITV drama Downton Abbey proved a hit at the Royal Pump Room Museum last year with visitors numbers almost doubling.

The number of visitors to the Harrogate’s Royal Pump Room museum in from October to December 2013 increased by 92 per cent as fans flocked to see the glamorous dresses worn by the ladies of the Crawley family.

The amount spent in the museum’s gift shop increased by 155 per cent while the garments where on display during what is usually the quietest time of the year.

Lois Toyne, head of culture, tourism and sport at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “The period during winter is usually quite quiet but we thought if we can offer a high profile exhibit it would be quite a draw.

“The exhibit was very popular, especially when the Knitting and Stitching show was on at the international centre as many people interested in sewing wanted to see the costumes.”

She added: “It just tapped into something at just the right time. It was when Downton Abbey was back on the TV and it just showed us if we get the product right we have a really exciting exhibit.”

Downton Abbey is set in a fictional Yorkshire estate not far from Ripon which provides the glamorous backdrop for the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.

Evening dresses worn by the sisters Lady Mary and Lady Edith in the popular costume drama, as well as the rebellious Lady Sybil’s Harem pants outfit, which caused quite a stir on TV were on display alongside a maid’s outfit and smaller items from Harrogate’s own costume and jewellery collections.

The exhibition was such a success that the museum is planning to show costumes from Agatha Christie TV shows this winter. The ‘Dressed to Kill’ exhibition will feature costumes from the 1970s until the present day.

Ms Toyne said: “We are carrying on with the costume theme, there seems to be quite an interest in it and hopefully we will attract lots of people again.”