A dual history
The nigthdress is part of Hollywood history, but also part of Topsham history. It tells a story about Dorothy Holman as well as Vivien Leigh.
Other items in the Museum connect the two women, particularly the red velvet theatre seat on display in one of the upper rooms which was reclaimed from from the St. James’s Theatre before it was demolished in 1957. Vivien Leigh had performed at the venue many times.
During her lifetime, Dorothy Holman sat in this seat ‘every day that the museum was open to welcome the public’ (Lily Neal, Dorothy Holman: A Life, 2006: 49).
Dorothy Holman also maintained a scrapbook of Vivien Leigh's career. The book contains a great many newspaper and magazine clippings about Vivien Leigh's work in the theatre and in film. It also contains clippings reporting on Vivien Leigh's death in 1967, and the memorial events celebrating her life which Dorothy Holman attended.