Queen’s Hall in talks to display ‘lost’ heirloom wedding dress

Tess wore the heirloom  made by her great-great grandmother Dora Torin in 1870  at her wedding in June last year. Picture: Seth Baines Photo
Tess wore the heirloom  made by her great-great grandmother Dora Torin in 1870  at her wedding in June last year. Picture: Seth Baines Photo
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A 150-year-old wedding dress lost after a dry cleaners went bust could go on show after being found.

Tess Newall’s treasured heirloom was found in a crumpled heap on the basement floor of the firm after the landlord heard she had mounted a social media search to find it.

Now it has emerged that officials at Edinburgh’s concert venue Queen’s Hall are in talks to showcase the now famous Edwardian lace frock.

“I’m just so relieved and overwhelmed to have it back safe,” said Tess, 29. “It doesn’t feel real – I just can’t believe it.”

Tess, from East Lothian, wore the dress – made by her great-great grandmother Dora Torin in 1870 – at her wedding in June last year.

Sent to Kleen Cleaners in the capital in September, the dress was missing after the firm went bust a month later.

A frantic search by Tess and her family proved fruitless until she launched a drive to find her much loved lace heirloom.

“The son of the landlord of the property read the story and told his dad he should go and have a look for it,” said Tess.

“In the basement he saw what he thought was a pile of old antique lace that when he pulled it out was the dress – it still had the ticket on with my parents’ number.”

The landlord phoned Tess’ parents at their home in Morham, East Lothian, and a long-awaited reunion with the dress was all set for Saturday – until one final twist.

“Someone from the administrators turned up at the shop from Glasgow and said my parents couldn’t take it,” said set designer Tess.

“My mum phoned me to tell me she had the dress and I just screamed with excitement.

“But she told me to calm down and burst into tears – she couldn’t believe she was holding it in her hands but couldn’t take it away.”

Administrators Wylie & Bisset finally delivered the dress to Tess’ parents Sally Oyler and Patrick Gammell in Morham, near Haddington, yesterday.

Tess’ grandmother Jojo, 88, who’s attic the dress had been stored in for half-a-century, was also there to welcome it home.

“It’s hanging up outside at the moment,” said Tess. “Apparently, it’s the best thing to air old garments as they’re so fragile. My family can’t thank you all enough. We are over the moon.”

Bankruptcy accountants AiB, who appointed Wylie & Bisset as administrators made the unusual step of commenting on the case.

“AiB has been advised of the issues surrounding this particular case and while it is our policy not to comment on individual cases, we can confirm this issue has now been concluded satisfactorily,” said a spokesman.

Now chair of Queen’s Hall, Nigel Griffiths, has approached Tess to put the dress on show after its plight captured the public’s heart.

It could be showcased in a glass case in the main hall or reception so some of the 100,000 annual visitors to the Clerk Street venue can see it.