THE costume worn by Dame Berwick Kaler in his final panto at York Theatre Royal is to go on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The costume from The Grand Old Dame of York will join other York pantomime material in the V&A collection, including a limited edition candlesnuffer in the shape of the Dame, backstage photographs of his last pantomime and a DVD copy of his pantomime Dick Turpin along with costume and set designs.

Catherine Haill, curator of popular entertainment at the V&A, said the costume will be a great addition to its collection.

“Of all the costumes we could have wished for, this is absolutely the one that tops the list,” she said.

“It is such a witty – with its Elizabethan ruffles and jaunty ink-pot and quill fascinator – and elegant summation of Berwick’s last pantomime and its 39 forebears.

“The costume really is great – so colourful, witty and well-made. It’s fantastic to know that Berwick’s incredible career will be represented in the V&A by a costume that reflects his 40 years of scriptwriting, and includes the iconic boots.”

Berwick’s wig and trademark tights – one red leg, one yellow leg – have also been donated to the V&A.

The costume is now at the V&A stores where it is being catalogued and assessed before conservation and mounting for a new gallery display next June.

The dress was transported free-of-charge to London by York courier and haulage company D.A.W. Logistics, based on Full Sutton Industrial Estate, because owner David Wright is a pantomime fan.

“I’ve watched Berwick in pantomime over the years and wanted to put something back into the community,” he said. “Transporting the pantomime dress to London was an honour.”

Berwick retired as Dame in February after 40 years although his association with pantomime continues as writer and co-director of this year’s Theatre Royal show Sleeping Beauty.

Berwick, who has also donated the boots he’s worn in every pantomime, said: “They are the original boots I bought in an Army and Navy Store in York 40 years ago. I knew then my Dame was never going to wear high heels!

“They have never been polished, probably out of laziness at first and then it grew into a superstition. I first walked on stage as Dame wearing these boots and 40 years later walked off wearing the same boots.”

Berwick’s wig and trademark tights have also been donated to the V&A.

Another of the Dame’s outfits from The Grand Old Dame of York – the glitterball dress worn by Berwick in the ‘walk-down’ finale – was donated to York Castle Museum where it was exhibited in the Shaping the Body exhibition.

Berwick will be back on stage at York Theatre Royal on October 16 for the 275th anniversary gala An Audience With Berwick Kaler.