Innovations in Housey dress

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Phil
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Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Phil » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:17 am

In viewing recent videos of CH on the Internet I noted changes of Housey clothes that have been introduced in the last few decades. Can someone explain what they signify? There may be other changes which I did not see and could also be explained. Of course if they can be illustrated with an image that would greatly aid oldsters like me, who visit Housey very rarely.

2013 Speech Day
- The Sen Grec wears a round silvery plate on his left upper chest. What is this? In my day there were the mathemats’ silver plates on the left shoulder and in the 1950s an aluminium plate on the right shoulder was introduced (the Barnes Wallis donation aided by the RAF Benevolent Society) and a third sort for only a very few boys. I have forgotten what it represented, perhaps a Skinners’ Livery Company presentee.

OBs’ Day 2013
- Some girls wear black (not yellow) stockings with knee level skirts. What is their status?
- All buckles are apparently now worn at the rear. (Is there any explanation for this change after several centuries?)
- Some senior boys wear narrowy girdles and buckles. (Is this because broadies are very expensive or in short supply now? In the 1950s one buckle was worn in the front. Only those on the UF and above wore broadies. They costed 30/- (₤1.50). This was a large sum but not usually impossible for everyone to afford. Some matrons had broady buckles and would lend them.)
- One girl wore 4 broady buckles (a red headed clarinettist, in the rear row of the band). In another video some wear 2 or 3 broady buckles. Does this display wealth or does it represent an achievement?

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J.R.
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by J.R. » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:10 pm

No good asking me - Like yourself, I consider myself an 'oldie' !

I know that the drum-majors of today have so many adornments, they could almost join the 'Pearly Kings & Queens' of dear old London.
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Richard
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Richard » Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:07 pm

Two other comments on the videos.

The grecians’ coats seem unchanged since WW2 (except for the lack of velvet on the cuffs during and shortly after the war)
Some of the marching, mainly of girls, is very poor.

Avon
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Avon » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:00 pm

Richard wrote:Some of the marching, mainly of girls, is very poor.
That's because it's a school, not a 1950s timewarp.

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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Martin » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:09 pm

In about 1947 a couple of senior boys from the Reading Bluecoat School stayed for a couple of weeks at CH. They wore their usual school uniform, superficially like Housie clothes, a long blue coat with silver buttons like ours, girdle and bands. Two big differences – they wore corduroy shorts and “fudged” bands. The bands were constructed to be permanently one above the other and the combination was buttoned (ie not pinned) onto the shirt. Their housie name “fudged” was because occasionally someone in a great hurry would not bother to pin bands to the shirt after aligning them, but simply insert them under the upper hem of the coat. You could get away with this as long as the coat was not taken off. The reason for this apparent diversion from the thread is because I understand that all bands at CH are now “fudged”. When did this happen?

Details of the Reading Bluecoat School, founded in 1646 – it still exists near Reading as a minor public school, but the bluecoat uniform is used very rarely now and only for ceremonial occasions. The school’s founder was an OB, Richard Aldworth, governor and later Vice-President of CH and also a wealthy merchant and Royalist officer. At the time of the visit to CH the Bluecoat School’s HM was Mr Bernard Inge, an OB.

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postwarblue
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by postwarblue » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:47 pm

When I got my buttons in 1954 I had to hand back my RMS plaque as plaques were not worn with buttons. Also the cuffs of a Grecian's coat were never buttoned.
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Vonny » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:06 pm

Phil wrote: - Some girls wear black (not yellow) stockings with knee level skirts. What is their status?
When I was there (which admittedly was a while ago now!) the senior girls wore grey tights instead of yellow socks. We did however wear the socks for "special" occasions. All the girls wore navy skirts.
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JohnAL
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by JohnAL » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:50 am

I am not familiar with the girls’ housey clothes, which seem more varied than the boys’. So the girls’ gray tights in the 2013 Speech Day film are for seniors. Thanks.
Girls seem to have at least three types of coat. One is long and seems the same as the boys’ Housey coat, worn with a navy skirt and yellow stockings (eg for band members in the 2011 Retreat). There is another coat which is shorter and worn on a normal day while marching into the Dining Hall. Also there seems to be a jacket worn with a long skirt. Finally black stockings are worn by some. What is the significance or use of these different garments?
A very few have a striking decoration on their arms. They wear about 12 buttons in a line on the outer sleeve, below and above elbow (eg a male trumpeter for the 2014 Retreat). Is this for band members only or some other distinction? If so, what?
Some loop the broadie girdle after it passes through the buckle, as in the 19th century Ackermann print. Is there any significance to this?

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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Vonny » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:22 pm

JohnAL wrote: Girls seem to have at least three types of coat. One is long and seems the same as the boys’ Housey coat, worn with a navy skirt and yellow stockings (eg for band members in the 2011 Retreat). There is another coat which is shorter and worn on a normal day while marching into the Dining Hall. Also there seems to be a jacket worn with a long skirt. Finally black stockings are worn by some. What is the significance or use of these different garments?
Speaking again from the time of the merger, the girls wore the same Housey coats as the boys in the winter and the shorter "jacket" in the warmer months. I vaguely remember wearing a long skirt and think this was only worn for events such as Speech Day etc. Not sure about the black stockings as we wore grey ones...
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Barnes Mum
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by Barnes Mum » Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:36 pm

The girls wear the long Houseycoats, the same ones as the boys wear all year, from October half term until the Easter holidays. During the summer months, on returning from the Easter holidays until the October half term, they wear a shorter, lighter weight, jacket. Girls in the UF and above wear black tights or grey socks instead of the yellow socks that the junior girls wear. They also have a 'ceremonial' dress which is worn for special occasions such as St Matthew's day and Speech Day, which consists of the lighter jacket worn with a long skirt, reaching the ankle. They also wear a frilly jabot in place of the usual bands, all girls, seniors included wear yellow socks with this outfit. The LE and above wear the wider broadie and buckles rater than the thinner girdles worn by the 2nd and 3rd forms, extra buckles are worn if handed down by older siblings ho have left the school. House captains also wear a special buckle in addition to the normal one, there are also special buckles given out as prizes such as the Travers Buckle for the most outstanding mathematician. If an older pupil is wearing a girdle it probably just means they have lost their broadie! :axe:

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J.R.
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by J.R. » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:06 pm

Barnes Mum wrote:The girls wear the long Houseycoats, the same ones as the boys wear all year, from October half term until the Easter holidays. During the summer months, on returning from the Easter holidays until the October half term, they wear a shorter, lighter weight, jacket. Girls in the UF and above wear black tights or grey socks instead of the yellow socks that the junior girls wear. They also have a 'ceremonial' dress which is worn for special occasions such as St Matthew's day and Speech Day, which consists of the lighter jacket worn with a long skirt, reaching the ankle. They also wear a frilly jabot in place of the usual bands, all girls, seniors included wear yellow socks with this outfit. The LE and above wear the wider broadie and buckles rater than the thinner girdles worn by the 2nd and 3rd forms, extra buckles are worn if handed down by older siblings ho have left the school. House captains also wear a special buckle in addition to the normal one, there are also special buckles given out as prizes such as the Travers Buckle for the most outstanding mathematician. If an older pupil is wearing a girdle it probably just means they have lost their broadie ! :axe:
I had a double take when I started reading your final sentence !!! I wasn't sure what the 'loss' was going to be requiring the weraring of a 'girdle'. :oops:
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JohnAL
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by JohnAL » Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:34 pm

Thanks Barnes Mum for your comprehensive explanation.

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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by DavidRawlins » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:28 am

Since the reason for yellow socks, and lining to the Housie coat was to deter fleas and lice (it certainly worked in my day), can any one tell of the result of this experiment to change the senior girls stockings to grey. Was it reckoned that the coats lining would be a sufficient safeguard?
I hope that this major experiment was passed by the appropriate medical ethical committees.
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michael scuffil
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:17 am

Purely as a matter of interest, are broadie buckles still fixed in the same place on the girdle for the life of the latter? We used to cut a hole or slit in the other end, and as the girdle stretched, as it inevitably did, cut another one and chop off the excess leather. The observation that the (buckle) end of the broadie girdle is looped round (by the girls) suggests that the buckle is moved back along the girdle to compensate for the stretching. (Or maybe girdles are now synthetic and don't stretch?) (Of course, that was in the days when all boys, pretty well without exception, carried pocket knives.)
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Re: Innovations in Housey dress

Post by sejintenej » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:23 pm

Michael: AFAIR we would cut the leather so that it would end up as a comfortable length ( you couldn't have it too loose when you first got a broadie) and then cut the Tee; stretching was only slight and allowed, over the years, for the girdle to descend to the hips - a level acceptable for monitors and grecians
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