Christening gown made by Hannah Henderson

Contributed by: Newcastle Museum

Christening gown front Christening gown back Waist band Back neck fastening Repairs to left sleeve Repairs on front right shoulder Bodice detail Christening gown Sleeve detail Tear on left sleeve Stain on back of gown Torn (L) sleeve Stain on back of gown
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Newcastle Museum
  • Owner registration number:

  • Date range:

  • Place of origin:

    Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement


This humble little christening gown was worn by at least one child born to Hannah and George Henderson, in the opening years of the 20th century. Their first child, a son, was born on the fateful date 15 April 1912, the day the RMS 'Titanic' sank. Even though it is not known who made this gown, it is a lovely example of early 20th century recycling and 'making-do', being made from the skirt of Hannah's wedding dress. As far as christening gowns go, it is not an ostentatious creation with miles of lace and lots of frills and ruffles. Rather, it is a shorter version and fairly utilitarian in contrast, which is appropriate for a working-class industrial city like Newcastle. This gown could easily have been worn again by the child, or kept as a gown to be worn by successive children at their christenings.

Author: Michelle A. Maddison, 1 February 2012.


White linen babies Christening gown with short sleeves. The front panel around the neck is a simple floral lace above a section of narrow vertical pleats. Below these pleats is a broad floral decoration with a long thin cloth tape at each end and trimmed with lace at the tip. The back of the gown has a short 'V' shaped split at the neck line.

Link to further information about this object

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Hannah Henderson (nee Cook) married George in 1910.

Their first child, a boy, was born on 15 April 1912, the day the RMS 'Titanic' sank.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

This christening gown is an example of the type of garments worn by children prior to the 21st century, when christenings were formal affairs, and an important milestone in a child's life. The practice of children wearing hand-made gowns for their christening, that often became family heirlooms was commonplace up until the mid-20th century, but is not so common now. As the Hendersons were married at Newcastle's Anglican Cathedral (Christ Church), this may be where the subsequent christenings of their children took place.

  1. Place of origin:

    Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    The Henderson family.

  3. Worn by:

    Henderson children

  4. Occasion(s):


  5. Place:


  6. Made for:

    Henderson children

Fibre / Weave

Ivory (or off white) fine linen

White (or off white) lace edging on sash, sleeve edges and front panel of dress

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


Garment hand sewn, possibly by child's mother, Hannah Henderson (or other family member).

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


No fastening in situ at back, may originally have tied together at neck top.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring


Christening Gown
Front neck to hem 460 mm
Back neck to hem 460 mm
Sleeve length 95 mm
Neck to sleeve head 145 mm
Convert to inches

Waistband length = 165mm

Neck opening (width) = 120mm

Length from underarm to hem bottom = 360mm

Additional material

Other related objects

Wedding bodice worn by Hannah, 7 September 1910.


The Christening gown has staining (and most likely overall discolouration), commensurate with age and wear. Back of the left sleeve is torn along the entire length. There is one prominent stain on backside of the skirt. Whatever held the back together at the neck is missing.


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Discolouration
  2. Crease
  3. Stained
  4. Torn
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