Joy for Tess as 150-year-old wedding dress is found

Tess Newall in her wedding dress also worn by her great great grandmother. Picture: Seth Baines Photo
Tess Newall in her wedding dress also worn by her great great grandmother. Picture: Seth Baines Photo
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A 150-year-old antique wedding dress lost after an Edinburgh dry cleaners went bust has been found.

Tess Newall, from East Lothian, made an emotional plea to Evening News readers for help in tracing the treasured dress.

A shot from the wedding day. Tess Newall is on the right of the picture. Picture: Contributed

A shot from the wedding day. Tess Newall is on the right of the picture. Picture: Contributed

Tess was married in June last year, wearing the dress which belonged to her great-great grandmother, and her parents sent it in for dry cleaning in September.

But Kleen Cleaners in St Mary’s Street changed hands, and closed in October, with the dress nowhere to be seen.

But Tess shared a post on social media on Saturday afternoon with the good news that the family heirloom had been found.

Tess, who grew up in Morham in East Lothian wrote: “We received this letter this morning from the administrators, confirming that our dress was NOT in Kleen Cleaners.

“However, we also received a phone call from the very kind landlord of the shop property who had read about it.

“He checked what was really left by the administrators and found an antique lace dress in a crumpled heap on the floor.

“My Mum and Dad have just been let in to the shop and to their amazement and joy it is our dress! (not cleaned but still with our ticket)”

Tess went on to say that for ‘procedural reasons’ a representative of administrators Wylie & Bisset would have to take the dress to the firm’s office in Glasgow, but that the heirloom would be returned on Monday.

Tess told the Evening News that she found the dress in the attic of grandmother Jojo’s Morningside home after breaking news of her engagement last September.

“Jojo told me she might have a dress for me,” recalled Tess. “I went looking in the attic and there among boxes of buttons was a big hatbox.

“It was so dusty and covered in cobwebs. It must’ve been there for at least 50 years.”

Inside the box, Tess found the dress made by great great grandmother Dora Torin in 1870.

“It’s the most beautiful handmade, Edwardian lace,” said Tess, recalling the moment she saw the dress for the first time.

Tess, a freelance set designer, made some minor alterations at her London home.

“It wasn’t completely white so I got it cleaned and slightly altered it because it didn’t suit me. I went and found a few little pieces to add to it. It was unique.”

The dress came with Tess and husband Alfred, 30, for a wedding service and reception in the village of Morham, near Haddington, where Tess grew up.

“It was just an amazing day,” said Tess, who attended Cargilfield Preparatory School. “It had a real old-fashioned feel to it as we walked down to the kirk across fields.”

The newlyweds set off for a driving honeymoon around France, while mother Sally Oyler and father Patrick Gammell, who still live at Morham, dropped off the dress for cleaning.

Patrick, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of East Lothian, had chosen Kleen Cleaners because it had a Royal Warrant.

Tess added: “My family can’t thank you all enough for creating this frenzy which allowed us into the shop before it was cleared, and are over the moon to be *almost* reunited with Dora’s dress.”