Posts Tagged Whiteleys

Kate Frye’s Diary: The Death Of Queen Victoria: 22 January 1901

Kate, who had just celebrated her 23rd birthday, is living with her family in middle-class comfort at 25 Arundel Gardens, north Kensington.

Tuesday January 22nd 1901

The Queen is Dead. We heard the paper boys in the street about nine o’clock. As I write the bells are tolling. The earth will be a very black place for a few weeks. I am about to undress for bed but stopped to write these few lines first.

Kate's friend Stella would most certainly have ensured that her mourning outfits were as glamorous as these. Kate had to make do with what she had. (Image courtesy of Cult Nation website)

Kate’s friend Stella would most certainly have ensured that her mourning outfits were as glamorous as these. Kate had to make do with what she had. (Image courtesy of Cult Nation website)

Wednesday January 23rd 1901

I looked out a black coat and skirt of Agnes’ to send to Abbie [an impoverished cousin] as I know she has not black at all – and of course could not buy any, poor girl – and one would feel it so much now.

Stella [an older, glamorous, friend, reported that at Whiteleys] the people were standing 8 and 10 deep at the glove counter waiting to be served [with black gloves].

What a blessing we all have a few black garments – it would be a terrible rush to get any made. Last night I took some coloured ribbon from an otherwise all black hat & pinned in a black feather  I had by me –so with my black coat and skirt and a black silk front to a blouse I was quite alright.

It seemed a funny sort  of day – between a bank holiday and a Sunday. [Went with Stella to tea at the Empress Club – new premises] which really are magnificent – a most gorgeous place. [For more about the Empress Club see here.]

[Afterwards they walked along Bond Street and Oxford Street to Marble Arch tube station] I never saw such a sight as the shop windows – everything black in them – even the fancy shops and as for the Drapers it looks too awful. Everyone is dressed in mourning – men with the deepest of hat bands etc – not a piece of colour anywhere – and of course black shutters to all the shops. [A fancy dress party that Kate had been so looking forward to – she had her Nell Gwynn costume ready – was cancelled.]  Our future is a blank. All theatres still shut.

Tuesday January 29th 1901

They were selling little crape rosettes in the streets – as they sell red, white and blue ones on festive occasions – they looked very horrid.

For much more about Kate’s life – as told in her biography, based entirely on her own diary, – see here.

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