The fashionable Manx plait (braid) c1890

Mrs Adams, showing the fashionable Manx plait c.1880 – 1900 © Manx National Heritage

This month’s ‘Curator’s Pick’ shows a striking glass plate portrait photograph of Mrs Adams c.1880-1900, who wears a hairstyle which seems to have been particularly popular on the Isle of Man in the late 19th century. Mrs Adam’s portrait, amongst others, provided the inspiration for Manx National Heritage’s Vintage Hair event held at the iMuseum on 27 April. Students from the Isle of Man College’s Hair and Beauty Department used the Manx National Heritage’s archive collections on iMuseum to recreate Victorian, Edwardian to 1950s hairstyles in a live styling challenge!

So, what’s the story behind the hairstyle worn by Mrs Adams? Historian Ruth Goodman (of BBC2 programme Victorian Farm) had the opportunity to look at Manx National Heritage’s glass plate collection during her visit to the Isle of Man in 2010. Ruth commented that a lot of the women had the same unusual front plait – and wondered whether it might have been a particular Manx style at the time. So more a Manx fashion than a Manx creation? All pure speculation of course! Next time you have a look through the family album, see if you can spot a similar style. Perhaps your great-grandma was on trend too! 

From the iMuseum‘s May update. Sign up for their e-newsletters — they’re fascinating but too hard to post to the blog!