A gift helps Liverpool dress up for Privateer Days

Brittany W.
Brittany W. Verge
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Gail Hamlin has been clothing re-enactors, Privateer Days volunteers, and many more since 1995.  Now, with the help of a special gift, she is able to clothe many more.


Gail Hamlin looks through some of the clothing given to her from the set of the miniseries “The Book of Negroes.”  Much of the clothing from the series is replica from the 1780s, the period that is re-enacted during Privateer Days.  Hamlin has already distributed much of the clothing given to her from the set.

Hamlin received a call after the filming of the CBC miniseries “The Book of Negroes” wrapped up. Someone involved in the miniseries said she could come to Halifax and pick up some of the costumes used in the production.  The series spans from the 1700s to the early 1800s so many of the costumes are from the Revolutionary period – the period that is focused on during Privateer Days.

Hamlin rushed to Halifax to grab what she could.  She and her husband filled up their minivan and now they have more clothes than they know what to do with.

“I took just about all of it except for some bits of ladies tops that were unsuitable for our period of time,” says Hamlin.

The costumes are machine sewn, which means serious re-enactors may not want to use them but Privateer Days uses a large number of volunteers, many of which want to dress in period costuming; from graveyard tours to wagon rides to the information booth.  Many businesses on Main Street in Liverpool also like to have their employees dressed up to get in the spirit of the festival.

Hamlin says having community members visibly involved in Privateer Days is very important for the festival. 

“If you go to the Calgary Stampede you can’t go without having a pair of cowboy boots and a Stetson hat so if you want to get the feeling of privateer days, if you’re dressed in period costume then you’re feeling the feel of what it might have been like,” says Hamlin.

She says it also helps visitors in the area identify locals whom they can ask questions.

Hamlin is also outfitting two bloggers who wrote on Privateer Days last year.  She says this year they want to re-enact as well.

“They’re going to be here again and they want to dress to go about the town,” says Hamlin.

Some pieces were given to the Perkins House Museum to create a more lived in look for the house as a part of their interpretive renewal plan. 

Hamlin says she’ll keep a few pieces but several other museums on the south shore are also refreshing their interpretive plans and she may give more costumes to them.  Shelburne County also re-enacts the revolutionary period and many of their re-enactors were extras in the mini series.

Organizations: CBC, Perkins House Museum

Geographic location: Liverpool, Halifax, Shelburne County

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