Monday, January 5, 2015

A Downton Abbey Tea

To get in the spirit for Downton Abbey's first episode of season V last night, I attended a Downton Abbey tea at the Farmington Hills Community Library at 1:30 yesterday afternoon.

A tea friend e-mailed me to tell me about the tea [thanks Laura Lee!] and I registered for the free event promptly.  It was lovely!

As we entered the library auditorium we heard the theme music from the television series playing softly in the background.

The focus of the program was fashion through the ages [but also included automobiles], and we were encouraged to dress in our historical best.  Several people - including me - did just that!  I got permission to photograph this lovely group of five ladies representing the three Crawley sisters, Lady Cora, and Lady Violet.  How fun!

The event began with tea and light refreshments.

I selected Bigelow's Red Raspberry herbal tea.

~ Two vintage dresses were displayed ~  

~ L-R:  Lynn, Fashion Curator and Program Presenter, and Colleen, Library Staff ~

~ The big screen was ready for the PowerPoint presentation ~

~ After Colleen's opening remarks the program began ~

~ Lynn was excellent.  She was dressed in an authentic Edwardian walking suit and hat. ~

~ In addition to PowerPoint, there were live models [Lynn's business partners] ~


These little girls were adorable!   Lynn said sailor outfits for children became very popular after WWI.

Victoria [on the right below] was modeling a "Piano Shawl" ensemble.  Lynn said in the 1920's women literally wore piano shawls that had been designed to adorn pianos.  I have one of the repro garments, but I didn't know it was called a piano shawl until yesterday. Live and learn!

~ A bit of humor ~

The program was over before 4:00 o'clock, and what a delightful afternoon.  I'm so glad I was able to attend.

Lynn told us that the Smithsonian channel was airing a new series called, Million Dollar American Princesses last night at 8:00 p.m., preceding  the airing of  season V's  episode I of Downton Abbey.  It was a very informative program hosted by Elizabeth McGovern who plays Lady Cora Grantham, and is about the real women behind the creation of her role - American women who married British aristocrats trading "cash for class."

Last night featured Jennie [Jeanette] Jerome born in 1854 in Brooklyn, New York who married Lord Randolph Churchill, parents of Winston Churchill, and another heiress and socialite from New York City, Fannie [Frances] Work [1857] who married James Roche, the great-grandparents of Princess Diana.  I'll definitely be tuning in again next week!

When episode 1 ended, I watched the 1 hour documentary of The Manners of Downton Abbey, which pertained to both upstairs and downstairs residents. It was hosted by Downton historian, Alastair Bruce and was very interesting.

It was definitely a Downton Abbey kind of a day!  Did you tune in to Season V, Episode 1?


  1. How lovely that the library hosted a (free!) program on "Downton Day." And now, of course, I'm going to have to see if these great programs you mentioned will air again. Always love to hear about manners, and of course million-dollar princesses would be fun to learn about as well. Am most intrigued to learn about the wearing of piano shawls. Some years ago, I was in an antiques shop in Savannah and saw the most gorgeous rose-embroidered pink/peach shawl that I was about to try on when I saw that it said piano shawl on the tag. I was horrified that I had almost purchased a glorified doily to wear -- so embarrassed. Now, I'm wishing I had, as now that I'm older, I wouldn't care so much what it was originally designed for!

  2. What a fun program! Didn't know about the Smithsonian channel, but have studied the various American heiresses and their families before...What fun!

  3. What a fabulous (free!) event! So glad you were able to attend, and so glad you shared!

  4. Now that looks like a wonderful event! I'm one of the few who has never watched the show, but I would probably enjoy it if I had started at the beginning. I'd enjoy teas like this regardless! I watched "The Great British Baking Show" or something like that, which came on just before Downton Abbey, and was great fun.

  5. Oh, I should have suggested this to my library! What a great idea!


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