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Christening Dress
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Title: Christening Dress
Identifier: 2008.2.5
Donor: Mrs. Anne Bridgeford (nee Wilcock Osborne)
Item Date: 1890-1920
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A white cotton pique baptismal gown with fabric embroidered into 1 cm squares with a stitched knot in each square. Neckline is square, sleeves are puffed. Bodice has a decorative 'V' insert at the front with three sets of horizontal tucks in the 'V'. Neckline and sleeves are trimmed in 2 cm wide lace. Three rows of tucks surround the sleeve opening at the lace trim. Inside each sleeve there are two 3 mm wide and 6.5 cm long corded ribbons. These ribbons are attached at the shoulder seam and cuff edge and serve to keep the sleeve in a 'puffed' position. There is a 25 cm long slit opening at the back. There is a 1 cm wide pocket around the bottom of the bodice and one around the neckline. These pockets hold 3 mm wide cords which tie at the back opening. The hem is 9 cm wide and sewn by the hand.

Christening or Baptismal gowns where worn by babies during the christening and baptismal celebrations; it was the church who insisted that babies were christened and baptised in white garments because white was considered a symbol of purity and innocence. The dress was worn by both male and female babies and often one dress would be used by all the children in the family and sometimes by children of later generations.

The gown may have belonged to William (Bill) Bridgeford born in Toronto, September 14, 1922. Williamís parents were Benjamin William Bridgeford (d. Nov 1980) and Isabelle Bridgeford who lived at 1321 Lansdowne Ave in Toronto. William married Anne Wilcock Osborne on June 28, 1948 in her hometown of Kapuskasing, Ontario. Together they raised two boys and two girls. Bill passed away May 10, 2002 at Credit Valley Hospital after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. The memorial service was held at St. Brides Church, Clarkson.
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