A VINTAGE dress thought to have been worn by Lady Lambton has been rescued from a skip on Wearside.
The frock was uncovered by a builder doing renovation work on a cottage near Penshaw Monument, who had found it among dirt and rubble.
The dress, which has two matching jackets, was taken to Ding Dong Vintage store, along with a leatherbound photo album of the Lambton family which included a photo resembling Lady Lambton in a similar style of clothing, thought to be taken in the 19th century.
Fawn Cheyne, 22, owner of the shop in The Gate, Durham City, was stunned when the dress was brought it and it is now on display.
Fawn said: “It’s not often you get things that old brought into the shop. It’s so old and it’s in such good condition and it is decorated with Whitby black jet.
“I think it could belong to Lady Lambton, who else would own such great clothes?
“It’s hard to tell if that is the dress she is wearing in the photo, but it is definitely a similar style.”
“I think someone must have had it in the loft for years, it has not been passed down to anyone.”
Although old clothes have been brought into the shop in the past, Fawn said that nothing comes close to this dress.
“We’ve had a couple of things from Durham Cathedral in the past but they are from around the 1900s and were really damaged by moths, this dress is even older and it’s condition is so good.
“I’ve only seen anything similar in somewhere like Beamish,” added Fawn.
The dress and jackets have attracted the attention of a theatre producer who has offered to put Fawn in touch with museums who could display the dress.
Fawn said: “We had someone come into the shop who said she could contact museums who would display it but I’m not sure if I’m ready to give it up yet.
“I like having it in our window.”
Fawn opened the store two years ago to house and sell her family’s huge collection of vintage clothing.
Fawn, from Marsden, said: “We had such a big collection in the house, 30 years of stuff.
“It was getting that much that we couldn’t move in the house. I have been brought up loving to collect clothes.
“We have some great stuff including clothes and some amazing old jewellery.”