Item 2591

Great Britain is the birthplace of the school uniform and over the years schoolboys have worn a wide variety of official school dress. These pages illustrate a selection of these uniforms and provide some details of their history.

Shown is the traditional bluecoat uniform of Christ’s Hospital School in Sussex. Link -via the Presurfer

Source: neatorama.com

Great Britain is the birthplace of the school uniform and over the years schoolboys have worn a wide variety of official school dress. These pages illustrate a selection of these uniforms and provide some details of their history.

Bluecoat Schools

Boys at Christ’s Hospital School in Sussex wear a traditional bluecoat uniform which dates back to Tudor times and is probably the oldest school dress still in regular use. The costume, with its distinctive ankle-length coat, neckbands, knee breeches and yellow stockings, is unlike any other school uniform. Pupils at some other bluecoat foundations also wear their historic ‘charity costume’ on occasion, but only at Christ’s Hospital School is the Tudor dress still worn on a daily basis.

Christ’s Hospital and the origins of bluecoat dress.

Other bluecoat schools.

Modern bluecoat boys still wear the same centuries-old uniform as everyday school dress

Military Foundations

A number of British schools were originally founded to educate the children of serving soldiers and sailors, or to prepare boys for the armed forces, and the uniforms of the pupils reflected this military ethos. Nowadays pupils at these military foundations usually wear standard school dress although they may don military uniforms for special occasions.

The dress uniform of Gordon School boys dates from the Victorian era

The Traditional English Schoolboy

The traditional English schoolboy, dressed in blazer, cap and short trousers, and carrying a shiny leather satchel, is to some extent a relic of the historical past although the image lives on in films, cartoons and advertisements. The time-honoured blazer with the school badge on the breast pocket is still worn by many pupils, but caps, short trousers and satchels are now mostly the preserve of the more traditional preparatory schools.

Classic English school uniform

Cadet Uniforms

Cadet detachments were first set up in British schools in Victorian times, offering military training to boys as part of the curriculum. Nowadays the Combined Cadet Force is mainly found in independent fee-paying schools and the remaining state grammar schools and, unlike in the past, membership is usually voluntary. Schoolboy cadets wear a similar uniform to that of the British regular armed forces.

This schoolboy cadet is a pupil at a Scottish school

Scout Uniforms

There have been scout troops in schools since the early years of the movement and the boy scout uniform has undergone a number of changes since the pioneering days, the most obvious being the transition from shorts to long trousers.

A boy scout wearing the redesigned uniform of the 1970s, which has recently been superseded

The Eton Suit

The Eton suit, with its broad white starched collar, waistcoat and short ‘bumfreezer’ jacket was the normal dress of younger boys at many of the more exclusive schools in the first half of the 20th century. Taking its name from the famous school where it originated, the uniform was finally abolished at Eton College in the late 1960s and today the once ubiquitous ‘Etons’ are worn only by boys at certain choir schools.

This smartly attired boy was photographed in the early 1900s, the heyday of the Eton collar