Harry Tilbury

Society dress designer of continental renown

The Newmarket Journal, 3rd February 1883
Wedding of Mr. Frederick Archer to Miss Nellie Dawson

‘The wedding of the popular jockey, Mr. Fred Archer, with Miss Nellie Dawson, the daughter of the popular trainer, Mr. John Dawson, has been familiar as household words in the mouths of the inhabitants, great (in stature or social position) or small, of Newmarket and the vicinity for weeks past, and during the last few days has reigned supreme, the one all-absorbing topic of interest, consigning ordinary subjects to the Limbo of the uninteresting and forgotten.

Wednesday saw the continuation of concern and excitement, the long-expected nuptial ceremony being performed with almost princely honours in the morning and the happy event made the subject of much rejoicing and jollification throughout the afternoon and evening.'


The Wedding Dresses

'The bridal trousseau was supplied by Messrs. Worth and Co., corseteers, 4, Hanover-street, Hanover-square, London. The name of Worth, connected as it is with the most brilliant achievements in the dress fashions of the beau monde, is sufficient guarantee of the value and nature of the dresses, which were of a most elaborate and costly description and had been produced under the careful management of the well-known designer, Mr. Harry Tilbury, of continental fame.

The bridal dress was of a lovely satin blondinaide, looped with rich old Venetian lace, blended with orange blossoms and sprays. The gupe, handsomely trimmed with point lace, consisted of a rich Surate silk. The beauty of the bridal wreath lay in its simplicity. The veil, a rich piece of fine art work, executed by nuns in Belgium, gave a charming effect to the tout ensemble.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were of rich coral Surate silk, relieved by graceful flounces of point lace, and formed tasteful and handsome examples of the dressmaker’s art. Small bonnets, the design of which added to the general excellence of the appearance of the trousseau, were worn. White Surate silk, with appropriate trimmings, was the material of the jupons.

The design of the travelling dress, admirable for its newness and elegancy, had but recently been formulated by Mr. Tilbury, and the dress under notice is the only one yet executed from the charming pattern, its beautiful brown Cerre silk fabric showing the design to every advantage. A more chastely handsome dress has rarely been seen in the fashionable world.

Mr. Tilbury was personally in attendance at the wedding and had the gratification of viewing the brilliant success of the undertaking, the arrangement of which he had been entrusted with, Mr. Worth being also present. The whole appearance of the bridal trousseau, the general design and execution of which was faultlessly beautiful and highly fashionable, was the subject of many flattering encomiums, which Messrs. Worth and Co., it is needless to add, had outrivalled themselves in order to deserve.'


The above extract is reproduced by courtesy of GW,
from newspaper cuttings researched by him and
published in his Cambridgeshire pages.


Frederick J. Archer (1857-1886)

Read the newspaper cuttings and live for a while in late 19th century society. A vivid account of joy, sadness and tragedy as seen and written by contemporaries for the press of their time.

Index to the newspaper accounts of the life, wedding and death
of Fred Archer, and of Nellie his wife:


Index page to GW's set of widely interesting Cambridgeshire files:

'Race To The Finish, The Life And Times Of Fred Archer'
A book by Amanda Murray
(February 2004)



It is difficult to be sure where this Harry was in 1881, but based on an age calculation, if he was in England during the Census, this was probably his entry:

Harry Tilbury, married, age 38, b. London, Middlesex (Commercial Traveller) registered staying at the Douglas Hotel, Grainger St West, Newcastle On Tyne St John, Northumberland (Hotel owned and run by the Gibson family). It may be that some of the other commercial travellers from London also staying in the hotel were Harry's colleagues.

Harry's wife & family


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