Acquired from Belinda Cadbury
The John Bright Collection owns a number of white cotton full-length petticoats from the first half of the 19th Century, two of which are included on this website (See Related Items). This example originally belonged to the Cadbury family, Birmingham Quakers who established their cocoa and chocolate business in 1831. It dates from the very early 19th Century and would have been worn under a sleeved, trained dress and over a loose knee length chemise and a corset which covered the exposed bust area. Drawers, though not unknown at the time, were not a common item of underwear. Like those of contemporary dresses (see Related Items), the skirt of the petticoat has an apron front, open some way down the side seams with a drawstring along the top to fasten at the back. Each side of the bodice ties with tapes at the centre front waist, and the bias-cut sleeves are set well back into the small back panels. A narrow belt neatens and defines the high waistline.