THIS vintage dress has gone from being worn by high society to pride of place in a clothes shop after being rescued from a skip.
The dress, once thought to be owned by Lady Lambton, was found covered in dirt and rubble near to Penshaw Monument.
But builders restoring a cottage near to the famous landmark unearthed the hidden gem and handed it into bosses at Ding Dong Vintage at The Gates Shopping Centre, in Durham.
Now, the dress, which has two matching jackets, stands on display in the shop’s window.
Owner Fawn Cheyne said: “I was standing in the shop and a builder came in with the box. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it and saw the dress, it was absolutely fabulous.
“It was immaculate. I just can’t believe that someone had thrown it away. The dress has so much history – it belongs in a museum. You couldn’t put a price on it.”
The builder who brought the dress into the shop also brought in a leather-bound photograph album. And Fawn believes one of the shots within the collection resembles Lady Lambton in the dress, which is thought to be from the 19th Century.
“When the builder brought in the dress he knew it was something extraordinary,” said Fawn. “He told me he had found it a few years ago but wanted to hold onto it because he didn’t know where to take it.
“He read about the shop in the paper and so he brought it to us.”
Ding Dong Vintage also stocks several dresses from the James Bond movies. The personal stylist for Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp recently visited the store, at The Gates, Framwellgate Bridge, to snap up a suit for the actor.
Fawn set up the shop because her South Shields home was bursting with her mum’s collection of vintage items built up over 25 years.
“We’ve collected amazing dresses and coats which came from Hollywood film sets and stately homes,” said Fawn.
The dress has so much history – it belongs in a museum. You couldn’t put a price on it