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Hardy Amies: A Dagenham Designer

Start Date 03 December 2016
End Date 25 February 2017
Venue Valence House Museum
Location Dagenham, Essex, UK
Curator Co-curated by Create London and Valence House Museum
A booklet also accompanies the exhibition with text by Amy de la Haye
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins in glass cases
Exhibition display of men's suit and tie attire with trilby hats suspended on wire above


A new exhibition celebrates fashion designer Hardy Amies and his early life on the Becontree Estate

3 December 2016 – 25 February 2017

Valence House Museum, Dagenham

FREE entry

This December, Hardy Amies: A Dagenham Designer, will display the designs and personal effects of the remarkable fashion designer Hardy Amies (1909 – 2003) at Valence House Museum in Dagenham. It is a little known fact that the world famous couturier spent his childhood in Dagenham, living nearby in The White House, an 18th century farmhouse, while his LCC architect father was overseeing the building of the Becontree Estate – then the largest interwar public housing project in the world.

Amies is best known as the official dressmaker to the Queen, which he performed for 37 years, from her ascension in 1952 to his retirement in 1989. The compact exhibition will include the dress Amies designed for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, a dress and jacket of the brightest fuchsia pink. Alongside that will sit a Teddy Boy outfit Amies made in collaboration with high street retailer Hepworths, on loan from Brighton Museum. There will also be vintage suits on loan from a local collector, as well as tailoring from Amies’ own wardrobe most of which he designed himself, on loan from UAL’s Central St Martin’s archive.

Photographs and letters will reveal details about Amies’ childhood growing up in The White House, where Amies lived throughout the 1920s, as well as film footage to animate the displays. While Amies lived in Dagenham he attended Brentwood School in Essex and his school cap will also be on display.

Amies also designed the infamous football strip for England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, and in this 50th anniversary year organisers of the exhibition are keen to hear from anyone that owns the kit and are willing to lend it to the exhibition. Dagenham was home to two of the players, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters, and the manager of the winning team Sir Alf Ramsey.

The exhibition will be held at Valence House Museum in Barking and Dagenham. The exhibition is being co-curated by Create London and Valence House Museum, and will feature a series of related events at The White House, which Create is transforming into a new space for public art and communal activity.

Hardy Amies: A Dagenham Designer is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.For further press information please contact Rebecca Ward for Create on 020 7613 3306 or

Images courtesy of Valence House Museum, Dagenham