Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
It’s Downton Abbey to the rescue with a £3k windfall
7:00am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
AN ARTS charity has been given a major cash boost thanks to an exhibition of costumes from TV drama Downton Abbey.
West Ox Arts has raised £3,000 from its £5-a-head exhibit of 10 costumes from the hit show in the last month.
Coach loads of visitors have flooded into the gallery at its Town Hall, Bampton, base.
The period drama is partly filmed in the West Oxfordshire village, providing a boost to tourism.
The charity relied on £5,000-a-year from West Oxfordshire District Council which was cut in April 2012.
A £5,000 donation from a patron’s will helped the charity continue last year but it faced an uncertain future this year.
Charity administrator Susie Henry said: “We have now made a healthy profit. There are a lot of costs that go with running this place and it is very hard to get by.
“We do rely on volunteers to keep us going as we can only pay myself and another member of staff’s wages.”
Among the costumes are evening gowns worn by Cora, Countess of Grantham, Violet, Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess of Grantham, and Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery.
It also featured Lady Mary’s blue going away outfit, Lady Edith’s ochre day dress and hat and Lady Rose’s check day dress.
For the men, there was the suit worn by Hugh Bonneville’s Earl of Grantham and the uniforms of housekeeper Mrs Hughes, cook Mrs Patmore, and maid Anna Bates.
She said: “There was a point when we had to be giving out timed tickets so that we could accommodate everyone.
“It has been really popular with literally coach loads of people turning up to see the exhibition.”
It comes as the show – about the trials and tribulations of an upper class family – returned to TV screens on Sunday.
Shortly before it was screened, cast members including Lesley Nicol, who plays cook Beryl Patmore, Jim Carter, who portrays butler Charles Carson, returned to film last minute scenes.
The village library and church both feature as backdrops in the ITV drama, first filmed in 2010.
The charity is the latest group to benefit from the “Downton effect”.
London-based Brit Movie Tours recently announced plans to begin visits to county filming locations Shilton and Swinbrook.
The exhibition continues today and tomorrow from 10.30am to 4.30pm, and 1-4pm on Sunday. Call 01993 850137 or see http://www.westoxarts.com
Comments are closed on this article.