On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Iris Norris on 9th April 2010, the following notice was posted:-
Iris Norris, Corsetière extraordinaire
Members of the group are reminded that 9th April, is the 10th anniversary
of the death of Iris Norris, (1921-2000). Much loved by grateful customers not
only for her kindness and understanding, her personal dedication to
tight-lacing, and her skill in producing wonderful corsets, when working at A
Gardner and Son Ltd, Islington, London, 1942-1981 and on her own account in
Bletchley from 1981 until shortly before her death in 2000.
Responses were received from none other than Robert and Cathy Jung, from Diane Hammond of Axfords and from 'Peter'. What finer testimony to a wonderful lady and corsetière.
We had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Iris when she was working for herself from her home. She was a whiz on her sewing machine which she had set up in her kitchen and could seemingly complete a corset for you while you stood there!! I have many corsets which she made for me and still enjoy wearing them.
We first met Iris when she came to the very first LGM Ball which was held in Letchworth, England. She came with Michael Garrod and the "head table" of corset makers and "experts" included Diana Medeq, Rudi van Ginkel, David Kunzle, Maureen Munton, and Ruth Johnson of BR Creations.
This was the first of our many contacts through today--most of them very positive experiences!!
We look forward to hearing others' experiences.
Bob and Cathie Jung
Iris Norris worked for Axfords for many years as an outworker and was one of our best corsetières – the only one who worked outside the factory and the only one to make our famous long mannequin corset, the D29, which was laced at the front, from below the busk, down to the knees, as well as lacing all of the 29” at the back.<<insert photos of D29 front and rear>>
Iris was profoundly deaf and the spectacles she always wore were in fact her hearing aids, transmitting sound waves via the frames to the bones of her skull. This deafness in some ways isolated her, and the world of corsets, small and intimate, in which she was a valued and respected figure, was of immense importance to her.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s I visited her house in Bletchley most weeks, to pick up corsets and drop off materials for the coming weeks work. She took enormous pride in her work and was very knowledgeable, both as a maker and a wearer of corsets – she was always laced and beautifully turned out and ready to share her long experience.
A 25 year old black D29 modelled by an enthusiastic volunteer
I have happy memories of numerous visits to both Barnsbury Square and to Bletchley. As a man who loved to be corseted I was always made welcome and treated with the kindness and good humour for which Iris was noted. Iris seemed ever willing too give helpful advice and was never judgemental, she would always proffer advice about ones aspirations and requests for corsets that were out of the ordinary and if she thought the request was too extreme she would gently counsel for some sort of compromise. She was a true Lady and a very accomplished corsetière, I still miss her and often think about her.