Bringing a piece of television history to Calderdale

Shirt worn in Pride and Prejudice

It’s one of the most iconic television scenes of all time, and now the shirt worn by Colin Firth in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is making its way to Yorkshire, after being purchased by Bankfield Museum in Halifax.

The shirt featured as part of an auction of items from the archives of Cosprop, a costume house founded by Oscar-winning designer John Bright, held at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London.  The auction attracted local and international interest and excitement, with great speculation as to who would be the successful bidder.

Calderdale Council’s museums service purchased seven items at the sale, including the famous white shirt, which is worn by Firth in the celebrated lake scene from the production.

The hammer price for the shirt was £20,000, with the buyer’s premium at £5,000, taking the total to £25,000, all of which will go to the John Bright Foundation, an arts education charity, offering creative programmes to children and young people.

The shirt, and other items, were purchased with the museum’s ringfenced ‘Works of Art Fund’, which has been built up over the years from generous donations and bequests specifically for the purpose of enhancing the museum collection for residents and visitors.

The museum also purchased the Gentleman Jack outfit worn by Suranne Jones. This will go alongside the recent costumes and props from the Sally Wainwright show gifted to the Council by the production company Lookout Point.

Other items purchased by the museum at the same sale include the yellow pelisse from the 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma; two outfits from Downton Abbey; and the King and Queen’s outfits from The King’s Speech – meaning there will soon be two items worn by Colin Firth in the museum collections.

Once received from the auction house, all of the outfits will enter the museum collection where they will be cared for and preserved as part of the existing large textiles collection.

Plans are underway to ensure that the pieces can be on display in an exhibition as soon as possible.  These items will bring a real boost to Calderdale collections and attract visitors from far and wide and local people and visitors will get an opportunity to see these exhibits during the borough’s Year of Culture.

The top floor of Bankfield Museum is a fashion gallery, with the current exhibition called “Inspired: Making Historical Fashion”. This looks at how museum collections are often used as inspiration for fashion designers and makers and includes a section on Tom Pye, the fashion designer for Gentleman Jack.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:

“The world-famous lake scene from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is truly iconic – much-repeated and much-replicated. It’s quite incredible that the shirt worn in this scene, although now thankfully dry, will now feature as part of Calderdale Museums collections.

“Bankfield Museum in Halifax is becoming increasingly known as a real hub for fashion lovers, with recent popular exhibitions including items from film and tv, historic fashions and contemporary designs.

“The recent costume additions, including the Colin Firth shirt, reaffirms Calderdale’s place on the map as a cultural arts and heritage destination, also supporting our celebrations for Calderdale’s Year of Culture, which starts in April this year.

“We truly appreciate the generous donations which allow us to continue to bring exciting items and enriching exhibitions to our museums across the borough.”

Richard Macfarlane, Calderdale Council’s Museum Manager, said:

“At the risk of sounding like Indiana Jones, the shirt belongs in a museum. We know the scene wasn’t in the book, but this is a piece of costume history and I’m delighted that thanks to generous donations we’ve been able to bring this item to Calderdale.”

Bankfield Museum is free to enter and open Tuesdays to Saturdays and Bank Holidays from 10am to 4pm. Donations to support the collections and exhibitions are always welcome.  For more information about Bankfield Museum and other Calderdale Museums, including the latest events and booking information, visit

Calderdale’s Year of Culture launches on Saturday 13 April and promises a diverse program of events throughout 2024 and into 2025, catering to all ages and interests. From vibrant festivals and engaging workshops to captivating performances and insightful exhibitions, there will be something for everyone to experience and enjoy. Be inspired and dive into Calderdale’s Year of Culture at link)  and on social media at link) and link)