Yards of lovingly-crafted lace, soft satin slippers... and all in a tiny size few modern brides could fit in: Stunning Edwardian wedding dress for sale again - 104 years after its last wearer walked down the aisle
A stunning Edwardian wedding dress is about to be auctioned after being kept in pristine condition by the bride's family for more than a century.
But while it may have survived being bombed twice by the Luftwaffe and 104 years in storage unscathed, it appears the changing shape of modern women could mean the magnificent wedding dress is never again worn down the aisle.
The delicate Brussels lace was worn by petite Ethel Dalziel when she married Ronald Cooper in Glasgow, and is smaller than today's UK size 4.
Over a century after it was worn the size of the average bride has grown so much it could almost certainly never fit a bride today.
It is being sold by Ethel's granddaughter and amazingly the Brussels' lace frock comes with the original satin shoes, which are a Size 1.
All the accompanying accessories have incredibly remained with the dress, carefully looked after by the family.
Ethel's family moved to London during World War II where they were unluckily twice bombed out of their homes in Cheam and Enfield.
It also comes with a pair of cream ribbed lace-effect stockings, orange blossom wax headdress and a full length veil.
Ethel, who wore the dress, stood about five feet high with a waist of about 18 inches.
Her granddaughter Elizabeth Hoare said she thought about wearing it for her wedding when she weighed six-and-a-half stone, but couldn't get into it.
The dress is expected to fetch several hundred pounds when it is sold at auction on Wednesday.
Mrs Hoare, who lives in Somerset, said: 'It was my grandmother's dress and her family must have been quite well off.
'It is made from lace and still has all the accessories including the little shoes that are about a Size 1.
'She was a very small woman, just about five feet high and must have had a tiny waist. When I remember her she had filled out a bit, but was still very small.
'She married Ronald Cooper in October in 1908 at the Newlands UF Church in Glasgow with the reception at the Windsor Hotel.
The dress was obviously kept by her and then when she died my mother kept it in a box and since I inherited it I've kept it in tissue paper in the bottom of my wardrobe.
'I haev no children and I tried to give it to a museum but no one wanted it so I've put it in a sale and hope it will go to a new home.
'I thought about wearing it for my wedding when I weighed six-and-a-half stone but I couldn't get into it.
'I remember my grandmother as having an air of authoruty and a rather pompous Glaswegian accent.
'She settled in Bayswater and had a fixation about spuies and would look out of the window with her opera glasses.
'In later years she dressed like it was the 1920s and had a blue rinse with curls in her hair.'
Deborah Doyle from Duke's auction house in Dorchester, Dorset, said the dress was in excellent condition.
She said: 'It has done very well to survive in this condition; it is very rare. And it comes with all the other accessories.
'It is very tiny dress made from Brussels lace with a detachable bodice with short puff sleeves with silk decoration.
'The front silk bodice is overlaid with lace flowers and flounces of lace and it has a centre silk bow.
'The full-length two tier lace skirt has scallop edges, falling into a semi circular train at the back.
'The satin lining is edged with a deep boarder at the hem with tight concertina pleats which is duplicated with a skirt of fine silk .
'It comes with the original ensemble kid leather wedding shoes, covered in cream satin and a single diamante clear stone, with ankle strap, fastened with a satin button.
'There is also a pair of cream ribbed lace affect stockings, orange blossom wax headdress and full length lace veil.'