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The Reverend John Parkinson’s Collection

The Rev. J. Parkinson’s Collection

2023 has seen us up and down from Cornwall to Scunthorpe, many times to study this collection.

In total there are 19 items comprising from a pair of red leather slippers, to a dressing gown, to waistcoats, breeches and coats.

As we are in the middle of researching late 18th c coat making, it was the coats that first took our attention but to study the collection as a whole soon became the main goal. We are planning to release a paper on this collection once the study is complete.

Though the coats were initially the most important items for our research at the time, as we imputted the data from them, compared pattern constructions and worked on replicas, it became obvious that to study the rest of the collection would help us get a better understanding of the coats also, and might solidify the ideas that we are building. But it is not just for the coats sake that this study would benefit. To study a collection that were all made for the same figure, the same man and to see what changes and what doesn’t, gives a fascinating insight into the workings of fashion at this time –  between the man and his tailor, his changing size, his fashion ideals; a deep study of this costume collections gives us hints and ideas into all of these categories.

The List of Items:

  • 1P (1964.061.001) – Silk suit of coat and breeches – c.1790
  • 2P (1964.061.005) – Velvet suit of coat and breeches – c.1790
  • 3P (1964.061.008) – Wool coat – c.1790
  • 4P (1964.061.002) – Silk Coat and Waistcoat – c.1790
  • 5P (1964.061.101) – Satin Waistcoat – c.1792-1794
  • 6P (1964.061.014) – Silk Waistcoat – c.1790
  • 7P (1964.061.011) – Silk waistcoat – c.1790
  • 8P (1964.061.013) – Silk waistcoat – c.1790
  • 9P (1964.061.012) – Silk waistcoat – c.1790
  • 10P (1964.061.009) – Wool coat with cut metal buttons – c.1790
  • 11P (1964.061.003) – Black silk coat – c.1790s
  • 12P (1964.061.006) – Silk coat – c.1790
  • 18P (1964.061.004) – Wool breeches – 1842
  • 19P (1964.061.007) – Black wool coat – c.1790s
  • 10PA (1964.061.015) – Striped Dressing Gown – c.1790s
  • S149 (1964.061.029) – Red leather slippers – undated

1790s seems to be the overall date suggested by the museum but from the study of the patterns taken from the coats so far, it would seem more that we are looking at 2 phases of construction dates. Possibly an earlier 1780s ish date and then teh later 1790s date. This theory will be balanced against the information yet to come from the waistcoats – which might yet tell a different story.


Currently  unstudiedcostume collections - rev. john parkinson


Purple Velvet with cut out stars. The fact that this coat comes with a matching pair of breeches, is ALWAYS infinitely more valuable from a knowledge point of you. To be able to see how the coat and breeches work together, what their corresponding waist measurements are, how they sit in relation to each other in height, etc etc. But the benefits of all of this can only be learnt through replication and the ability to dress and undress the garments.

Interesting Details:

  • I mean apart from the fabric, which is just pure wow!
  • Cuff depth – 5 1/16″ at back, 4 3/4″ at front with an fashionable overhang of about 3/4″.
  • Pkt flap depth – 4 1/4″

3P:18th century woolen coats - rev j parkinson

Only partially studied.

The museum has termed this colour ‘Olive’ but we think ‘Snot green’ might be more appropriate.

Interesting Details:

  • Top stitching parallel to CF but beyond the buttons – similar to 19P
  • More info to follow


Currently  unstudied


Currently  unstudied


Currently  unstudied


Currently  unstudied


Currently  unstudied


Currently  unstudied

10P:late 18th century mens tailoring

One of the constant themes with this collection is the striking colours or bold details that have been chosen. The buttons on this wool coat are a prime example of this.

Interesting Details:

  • Cut metal buttons of a striking nature
  • Cuff size: 4 3/4″ depth at back, 4″ depth at front and a designed overhang of about 3/4″
  • Pocket flap depth = 4 1/4″



Two of the coats listed in the inventory have been labelled as possibly ‘Clerical’ and this is one of those two coats. This one is made from a black, fairly study and costume collections - rev. john parkinson functional silk with very standard making techniques for the period, and in line with similar practises found on some of the other coats within this collection (though will also interesting differences…)

Interesting Details include:

  • the lining inside was quite shattered and broken, revealing a lot of the inner workings.
  • Cuff Depth – 41/8″ at the CF and growing to 4 1/2″ at the back.



We called this ‘off aubergine’ as the silk is faded in patches and looks EXACTLY like the colours that aubergines go as they begin to rot and going off. This was the first coat we studied from the collection. The details we first studied on this coat are almost exactly the same on each of the coats that belonged to the Rev. John Parkinson.

Interesting Details Include:

  • Cuff depth – 4″ at the front and 4 1/2″ at the back

original late 18th century suits - north lincs museum