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Cotton Queen Dress

A dress worn by Britain’s first Cotton Queen.

The dress was made for Frances Lockett of Hyde.

The dress is an important part of our region’s textile heritage and reflects the attempts made to reverse the decline of the industry. Between 1930 and 1939 the annual Cotton Queen competition was a major event in the cotton towns of the North West. The aim was to revive the fortunes of the once prosperous industry.

In 1930 Frances Lockett, a 19 year old mill worker from Hyde, was voted Britain’s first Cotton Queen.

Frances spent her year as Cotton Queen travelling the country, promoting cotton at exhibitions, parades and public events. She was treated to champagne receptions and given gifts such as this beautiful beaded dress. Being the first Cotton Queen was a huge honour for Frances and for the town of Hyde. After being crowned, the town gave her a civic reception, with more than 20,000 people turning out to congratulate her.

After her year of fame, Frances returned to work at J&J Ashton’s Mill in Hyde where she worked as a weaver until her marriage to local policeman James Burgess in 1937.

Frances’s family donated her dress to the people of Tameside and it can be seen on display at Portland Basin Museum.