What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

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Alex
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What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by Alex » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:17 pm

Once yearly boys’ Housey coats were changed for new ones, as they became outgrown or outworn. So what happened to the old ones? I suspect in the 50s they were sold to makers of reconstituted cloth. If the coats were in reasonable condition it is likely they would be highly prized by Old Blues for use as dressing gowns, etc.
The Petition 1552 indicates that to achieve its most admirable aim of a large reduction of full fee paying pupils more income from donations will be required. Couldn't Housey coat sales contribute to such income? About 20% of 'retired' Housey coats, or say up to 170 a year, could fit adults. Housey items and books are already sold, packed and despatched. Coats could be added.
There must be many Forum readers with business experience who could comment on the viability and economics of this proposal. So after testing the waters and if it were deemed appropriate, Julian Taylor, or someone else, could take the matter further with a formal proposal.

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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by JohnAL » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:49 am

This recycling suggestion is interesting, likely to be popular and potentially profitable. I am likely to be a purchaser. But it is not so simple. Would a dry cleaning device need to be installed before coats could be sold? That would be expensive. But then a dry cleaning service could be offered to the CH community at other times to offset its cost. All this (selection, preparation, marketing, despatch of coats) would also might require an additional part-time Wardrobe employee. If the principle is deemed viable a business plan could be drawn up (but not by me).

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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by Kit Bartlett » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:02 am

When I joined C H. in September 1941, incidentally a time just after clothes rationing had been introduced, I am sure that we all had two Housey Coats issued , one of which was known as "Sunday best". These were kept in a special room and presumably only used on specific occasions.
In 1942 the issue of Housey clothes was suspended and boys wore civilian clothes, corduroy shorts and tweed jackets. On reaching the Upper Fourth all boys wore Housey dress. We were all issued with civilian clothes for the holidays plus a pair of Housey shoes , known as "clodhoppers" for ugly design.
I remember Coat Inspections carried out by monitors which involved a lot of preparation beforehand.

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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by sejintenej » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:53 pm

Re Kit Bartlett's reminiscences, in the 1950's we also had two coats issued but I can't remembr where the second was kept. ISTR we had it for the London parades, at the end of summer terms and maybe Speech Day. I remember that in my early years at the start of each year I received last year's "best" though only a couple of times due to height increase.
Everyday coats were inspected with monotonous regularity - following the stench of Sprim pervading the changing rooms. Thezre was a requirement (probably ignored) that coats be cleaned during the holidays.
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Adrian
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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by Adrian » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:28 pm

sejintenej wrote:Re Kit Bartlett's reminiscences, in the 1950's we also had two coats issued but I can't remembr where the second was kept. ISTR we had it for the London parades, at the end of summer terms and maybe Speech Day. I remember that in my early years at the start of each year I received last year's "best" though only a couple of times due to height increase.
Everyday coats were inspected with monotonous regularity - following the stench of Sprim pervading the changing rooms. Thezre was a requirement (probably ignored) that coats be cleaned during the holidays.
It was the same in the 70's. One everyday coat and one for best. The best was kept in cupboards next to where matron lived.

One day I went to collect my best coat with a friend, and we noticed there was only one other coat left to collect and it was another friend. It was agreed that it would be hilarious if one of us climbed into the cupboard to give our friend a shock, whilst the other would go and fetch our friend to collect his coat. Foolishly I climbed into the cupboard.

About ten mins later the door opened and out I jumped ... "Boo!"

It was matron ... checking which coats were left to collect. She nearly had a heart attack. I actually had a very sore backside the next day.
Maine A; Peele A 75-82

Martin
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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by Martin » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:31 pm

A housie coat becoming an OB’s dressing gown – this happened while I was at school. A friend obtained his buttons in mid year. For some inexplicable reason his “best” non-buttons housie coat remained in the house for a long while and clearly was forgotten by the Wardrobe authorities. A well heeled OB learned this and requested it. He finally was given it and he and the donor lived happily ever after. (The donor received a couple of pounds, I think.)

In those days new coats were then dished out soon after the start of the school year, after new boys had received all their housie clothing. I suppose this was a good time, after the summer holidays when the effects of a growth spurt were most obvious. But I think that matrons could also send a boy to Mr Henderson at the Wardrobe at any time, if there was some very serious damage done to a housie coat.

Some recycling of shoes for OBs was done officially. Those leaving could keep their shoes by paying a nominal sum. I certainly did so. It saved a pound or two. Housie shoes were strong, somewhat inelegant and very different from other young men’s normal footware. But today the school’s shoes seem like any other and the resulting economy for new OBs is relatively little.

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Re: What happens to ‘retired’ Housey coats?

Post by postwarblue » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:49 pm

In the forties and fifties old coats were lent out in the sicker for use as dressing gowns. Otherwise, back in the house, the old year's best coat became the new year' ordinary one. There was a special way of hanging up a blue coat by turning it inside out and hanging it by the big lowest buttonhole.
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